Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

Mets News

Rosario solidifies spot at shortstop

Mazza called up for bullpen depth, possible spot start
@JakeCrouseMLB
August 2, 2019

PITTSBURGH -- Back on June 24, Mets manager Mickey Callaway said that center field might be an option for Amed Rosario, the Mets’ everyday shortstop who was then struggling to field his position. Rosario was in the bottom two at his position in Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and Ultimate Zone

PITTSBURGH -- Back on June 24, Mets manager Mickey Callaway said that center field might be an option for Amed Rosario, the Mets’ everyday shortstop who was then struggling to field his position. Rosario was in the bottom two at his position in Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR), and the team considered getting creative to deliver the best defense on the field while also bolstering its plate presence.

But Rosario has cleaned up the mistakes with his glove lately. In his past 25 games, he’s only had one game in which he’s committed an error (two on July 26) after committing 11 in his first 77 games. He’s contributed some defensive gems, including a stellar diving stop on Thursday against Jose Abreu in New York’s 4-0 win over the White Sox.

So for now, Callaway says the club is putting a halt to talk of moving Rosario to the outfield, hinting that it was more of a last resort for the club all the while.

“The one thing we did focus on -- and knew we were going to focus on before we did anything with [Rosario] -- was to continue to try and help him develop at short,” Callaway said, “and it seems like that’s really paying off. So I think for now that we’ll probably continue just to focus at short and go from there.”

Rosario said at the time of the move’s consideration that he was “willing to do it,” but he also knew where he thought he was meant to play: “I’m a natural shortstop.”

Rosario is looking more and more natural as the season goes on, and Callaway believes a number of factors can contribute to that confidence. Maybe a bit of maturity, maybe the product of all the reps he’s put in at practice and over his career. Even his good showing at the plate -- Rosario had batted .356/.413/.562 with nine extra-base hits since July 6 going into Friday night’s 8-4 loss to the Pirates at PNC Park -- could help him “relax a little bit,” Callaway said.

But whichever combination of factors have led to it, the Mets are hoping the recent results can stick.

“It’s hard to identify just one [thing], but he does everything he can every day to be the best he can, and maybe he’s really starting to click,” Callaway said. “You always kind of find that “Aha!” moment in your career, and then you start to take off. Maybe he’s found his.”

Mazza recalled, Nogosek optioned

The Mets reinforced their options for length out of the bullpen -- and potentially for a spot starter -- by bringing up Chris Mazza from Triple-A Syracuse on Friday. Stephen Nogosek, who pitched only twice in July, was optioned to Syracuse in a corresponding move.

“It just protects us a little bit,” Callaway said of Mazza’s recall. “Obviously, Nogosek hadn’t thrown in a while, and we also wanted to get him down there and get him going because we feel like he can help us going forward.”

Mazza has pitched to a 5.19 ERA over four appearances, including his four-inning MLB debut on June 29 against the Braves, when he allowed just one run. Callaway said that Mazza could be used in a number of ways: as a length arm against the Pirates or Marlins, and possibly even as a starter in one of Monday’s two games against the Marlins.

Jake Crouse is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Pittsburgh. Follow him on Twitter @JakeCrouseMLB.