Erickson Gets Nod For Friday

Matt Ginter's time in New York is up, at least for the moment.<br> <br> The Mets will call upon a righthanded pitcher from the Norfolk Tides to make Friday's start against the Phillies, but it won't be Ginter. Instead, 36-year-old Scott Erickson will arrive at Shea Stadium for the first time in his Mets career.

"He's pitched pretty well, and we've invested a lot of time, money and energy into him at this point," Mets GM Jim Duquette said. "He's a proven veteran. It's time to see what we have."

After a shaky start to his rehab assignment, Erickson hit his stride at just the right time. He refused a chance to jump ship into the free agency pool, then made three consecutive solid starts at Norfolk, including a 8-1/3 inning effort in his last start on July 10 at Scranton Wilkes-Barre.

While Erickson fashioned a 2-0 record with a 0.86 ERA over those three starts, Ginter faltered, turning in three straight starts of four innings or less against the Reds and the Yankees twice before throwing five decent innings at Philadelphia on July 8.

With Erickson forcing the Mets' hand into granting the call-up, Ginter's no-decision wasn't enough to earn a return ticket to New York.

"You want to bring a guy up when he's going good," manager Art Howe said. "He wouldn't be here if we didn't think he could help us."

The Mets begin the second half Thursday with a four-game set at home against the Phillies, beginning the series against the division-leading Phils in fourth place and two games back.

After Erickson locks up Friday against Kevin Millwood, Tom Glavine will start Saturday against Randy Wolf. Al Leiter goes against Brett Myers in the series finale Sunday.

NOTES: Shane Spencer made his first start as a Met at first base on Thursday. Spencer had been taking ground balls at first base for the better part of a month and had impressed infield coach Matt Galante to the point where Galante compared Spencer to Eric Valent, who had received the majority of the Mets' fill-in time behind Mike Piazza and Jason Phillips.

First base was never foreign territory for Spencer, however. He played one game there with the Yankees before playing 13 games at first base during spring training with the Indians last season when Ben Broussard and Travis Hafner each went down to injuries.

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