Tommy Hunter arrived at the Mets manager’s office Friday and was promptly informed he would be fined for tardiness.
Buck Showalter was smiling as he delivered the news to the veteran reliever, who was selected by the Mets from Triple-A Syracuse.
Hunter was late on his first day back with the Mets?
“I am late to the season,” said Hunter, who signed a minor league deal with the Mets in late April. “The season started a couple of months ago.”
Hunter, 35, appeared in four games for the Mets last season before back discomfort landed him on the injured list, and he underwent surgery (after he had been traded to the Rays). He spent 5 ½ seasons pitching for the Orioles when Showalter was the manager.
“I have kind of stayed in touch with him over the years, once or twice a year,” Showalter said before the Mets beat the Marlins 10-4 on Friday night at Citi Field. “I thought Tommy was getting ready to shut it down, but he will give it one more roll.”
Hunter’s career highlight occurred last season, when he collected his first major league hit, a single in Atlanta. Later that week he was placed on the IL.
He told Post Sports+ earlier this month his comeback was fueled by a desire to wear a major league uniform and be on the field with his youngest son, Rowan, who was born in April 2021.
As luck would have it, Family Day is scheduled for Sunday.
Showalter is less than enthused by MLB’s mandate that teams must reduce to 13 pitchers by Monday. That comes as the Mets have Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer and Tylor Megill on the IL and are trying to eat innings.
“It’s not like you can carry 14 or 15 [pitchers] and cover those innings,” Showalter said. “I am not quite sure what that is really all about, but if you are going to 13 you might as well go to 12 and really see who can handle their pitching, but they didn’t answer me.”
Adonis Medina was recalled from Syracuse on Friday, when Megill was placed on the 15-day IL with a right shoulder strain that will prevent him from throwing for the next four weeks. Medina allowed an earned run in 1 ¹/₃ innings Friday night.
Catcher James McCann was in the lineup as the DH for Double-A Binghamton a night after beginning a minor league rehab assignment with the team. McCann is returning from surgery to repair a broken hamate bone in his left wrist.
“I haven’t heard anything about him negative, physically,” Showalter said.
Infielder Gosuke Katoh was designated for assignment to create space for Hunter on the 40-man roster. The Mets optioned Jake Reed to Syracuse, creating space on the 26-man roster for Hunter.