Mets Notebook: Mark Vientos called up, Tommy Pham gets MRI results on groin

22 July 2023

BOSTON — Mark Vientos is back in the big leagues, but how often he’ll get to play remains a question.

The Mets called up the first baseman/third baseman Friday afternoon to take the spot of outfielder Starling Marte on the roster. With DJ Stewart on the major league roster and Jeff McNeil able to play right field, the club didn’t have a pressing need for another outfielder and Vientos had been hitting the ball hard with Triple-A Syracuse, so the Mets decided to call him up.

However, he was not in the lineup for the first game against the Boston Red Sox and it’s unclear just how much he’ll play in Marte’s absence. Marte was placed on the 10-day injured list with migraines Thursday, retroactive to June 17,  but manager Buck Showalter said he had a “good day” Friday.

Vientos, a right-handed hitter, will not be in the lineup Saturday against right-hander James Paxton either, with Showalter citing reverse splits. The veteran right-hander has held right-handed hitters to just a .173 average this season and a .567, but he’s given up seven homers to righties this season and only two to lefties.

“I’m not going to totally commit to tomorrow because [left-hander James Paxton] is kind of a reverse split guy,” Showalter said Friday afternoon at Fenway Park before the Mets began a three-game series against the Red Sox. “I’m not going to do him a favor by putting a lot of right-handed hitters in there. We’re going to try to win the game tonight and see if there is a spot for Mark to contribute and see where we are tomorrow.”

Vientos played 16 games for the Major League Mets earlier this season. The club kept him around for a month as a bench bat and he was never really able to find his offensive stride with inconsistent playing time. The Mets put Vietnos in the lineup on back-to-back days only once during his first big league stint of the season, mostly using him as a late-game replacement.

The 23-year-old is hoping for more playing time this time around, but he knows it may not come. He’s coming off a hot stretch in Syracuse, having his .351 with four home runs over his last 10 games and eager for a chance to see if he can hit big league pitching. Overall, he’s hitting .307 with a 1.000 OPS, 16 home runs and 50 RBI in Syracuse.

He’s confident that his bat “will play” at a higher level.

“My swing feels good. Everything feels good,” Vientos said. “I don’t see any adjustments I have to make. I have to work because I’m not as good as I want to be and I’m still working on things that I have to do every single day. But hitting right now, I feel good.”

The Mets primarily used Vientos as a DH earlier this season and he got into five games (three starts) as a first baseman and two (both starts) at third base. He has not played any outfield for the Mets this season at any level, but he has in the past. The lineup decisions are not Showalter’s alone. It’s a collaborative effort with the front office and the analytics team. There were valid questions about Vientos’ defense and footwork earlier this season but the Mets don’t currently have a full-time right-handed DH and Vientos checks that box.

The hesitation to play one of the club’s top prospects remains a strange storyline this season.


Outfielder Tommy Pham underwent another MRI on his right groin and they came back negative. He was out of the lineup Friday and is considered day-to-day. He left Thursday’s game against the Chicago White Sox at home after feeling tightness in the region for the second time in nearly three weeks. Pham, who previously missed time with a groin injury earlier in his career, left a game in San Diego when it tightened up right before the All-Star break.

“You have to listen to him, even though Tommy is going to always tell you he’s a go,” Showalter said. “Tommy didn’t want to come out of that game, but we listen to him and he’s always very forthright and honest about how he’s feeling. We’ll see how he feels when he gets here.”


Infield coach Joey Cora is facing his younger brother, Red Sox manager Alex Cora, this weekend. Several members of the family are in attendance for the occasion, including Joey’s wife and daughter.

“He’s proud of his brother,” Showalter said. “I know what a good quality baseball man Joey is and I know Alex is too. They’ve got a lot of family here and there are some birthdays they’re celebrating.”


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