Jacobs detours to New York

Hidden behind Carlos Beltran's return to the lineup and behind Tom Glavine's solid pitching effort, there was the 24-year-old kid, blending in on the Mets bench and wearing No. 27.

Quietly, Mike Jacobs had traded his blue Binghamton duds for a crisp white Mets uniform, slipping into Shea Stadium for his first day of major league service time.

"It's cool, man," Jacobs said. "This is definitely exciting."

Earlier in the day, Jacobs and his B-Mets teammates completed a 4-0 win over the Portland Sea Dogs up in Maine, with Jacobs extending his hitting streak to 22 games and driving in his league-leading 93rd run.

Dressed in a sport shirt and worn jeans, Jacobs was planning to settle in for a seven-hour bus ride back to Binghamton. But his day was just about to begin.

"A real good day," Jacobs said. "This detour is a little better."

At about 3:30 p.m., Binghamton manager Jack Lind pulled Jacobs off the team bus and filled him in on the news – Mike Piazza was sidelined down in New York, having suffered a hairline fracture of the pisiform bone in his left hand.

With Ramon Castro in the starting lineup and no clear-cut emergency catcher on New York's roster (Miguel Cairo and Chris Woodward likely would have been the options), the Mets needed a backup backstop, especially with doctors advising that Piazza would need at least two to three days for the swelling in his hand to go down.

So by 4:40 p.m., Jacobs had already made a couple of quick phone calls ("My mom started to cry," he said) and was in the air, leaving behind his motoring B-Mets teammates.

Meanwhile, in the home dugout at Shea, reporters knew something was up. GM Omar Minaya said the club was already evaluating a call-up from the minor leagues, and Minaya voluntereed Jacobs' name as an option - "A kid ripping the ball up at Double-A," Minaya said - when someone asked about Mike DiFelice, a veteran catcher at Triple-A who has seen some time in New York already this year.

Word trickled around that Jacobs was en route, and it was true: he touched down at LaGuardia Airport and filtered in to the Mets clubhouse shortly after 6 p.m., with the team making a minor roster move – designating little-used pitcher Jose Santiago for assignment – to clear a spot on the 25-man roster.

"I'm here," Jacobs said. "I'm here so they can put me in. I'll be ready."

How long Jacobs will be on the roster, or whether he'll see any playing time – the B-Mets had abandoned his first-base experiment in late July, meaning he's simply in New York as a second catcher – is up for debate. But David Wright grinned when asked by a television reporter for a scouting report of his new teammate.

"He can hit," Wright said. "He's got pop, he's got power. We played together in the minor leagues. If he gets a chance to get in there, he can hit a ball a long way."


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