Friday night, Jake Hager reached a career milestone.
By Saturday, he was without a team.
The longtime minor league infielder singled for his first career big league hit and scored in the Mets’ thrilling 12-inning victory over the Marlins. But he was designated for assignment on Saturday, because the Mets needed to create a spot on the 40-man roster.
Left-handed reliever Stephen Tarpley coming off the COVID-19 injured list and being sent to Triple-A Syracuse, so Hager was let go. Right-hander Jordan Yamamoto took his spot on the active roster with the Mets.
“It was really tough. I can imagine it was tough for him, as it was tough for me,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said before the Mets’ 3-1 loss to the Marlins on Saturday. “I did tell him that this is something that can happen. and he should not put his head down. He got himself here, he [was] one of our best hitters in [Triple-A] Syracuse. Keep working hard, keep looking forward. I pray he [stays] with us and he meets us again down the road.”
Hager, a first-round pick of the Rays in 2011, spent nine seasons in the minor leagues before finally getting called up by the Mets this year.
Tomas Nido’s recent hot streak at the plate has earned him a large chunk of playing time, which continued in Saturday’s 3-1 loss to the Marlins in Miami. Nido, who went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts, has started five of the past seven games in place of struggling free agent acquisition James McCann.
“He’s been a part of the winning formula lately,” Rojas said.
Rojas has spoken to McCann about his recent lack of playing time, and wants him to use the extra time to work on some of his hitting mechanics. McCann took ground balls at first base before Saturday’s game because Pete Alonso is on the IL.
“He’s a professional, he’s a great teammate, so he’s been great about it,” Rojas said of McCann. McCann flew out as a pinch-hitter Saturday.
Newcomer Cameron Maybin could get moved down in the batting order. Since arriving, he has hit third in every game, but has only reached base twice in 12 at-bats — once on a strikeout. Rojas wants to see him make adjustments, but said he believes the 34-year-old Maybin is still a major-league caliber hitter who can produce.
“We expect him to help,” Rojas said. “That’s why he’s here.”
Rojas said the Mets expect J.D. Davis will return next week, either Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. Davis has played three games for Triple-A Syracuse. He went on the IL on May 3 with a sprained left hand. … Infielder Jose Peraza didn’t start due to a bruised calf, but walked and scored the Mets’ lone run as a pinch hitter. … Outfielder Albert Almora Jr. (left shoulder contusion) is playing catch and doing strengthening exercises but won’t start hitting until Monday at the earliest, after the Mets return to Queens. … Catcher Deivy Grullon was claimed by the Rays, and left-handed reliever Daniel Zamora was claimed by the Mariners.