Mets place Barajas on 15-day disabled list

Mets place Barajas on 15-day disabled list

NEW YORK -- A chaotic off day for the Mets yielded only one tangible result: The team placed Rod Barajas on the disabled list Monday with a mild left oblique strain and selected the contract of infielder Mike Hessman from Triple-A Buffalo.

The team's coaching staff -- a source of speculation over the weekend -- will remain intact at least through Tuesday's game, according to a team official.

An MRI taken Monday revealed that Barajas, who had been hitting a meager .168 since the start of June, strained his left side Saturday in Los Angeles. Though he carried more than his share of the team's offense in April, hitting .244 with nine of his 12 home runs over the first five weeks of the season, Barajas has slumped lately, while losing playing time to rookie Josh Thole.

The Mets placed him on the disabled list retroactive to July 25. In his absence, Thole will become the regular starter. Barajas will not resume baseball activities until he is pain-free.

It is the third such oblique injury for the Mets this season. Last month, center fielder Angel Pagan strained his right side and missed a week's worth of games. A week later, shortstop Jose Reyes also strained his right oblique and had to miss the All-Star Game.

The Mets, however, were desperate at the time for those two to return -- they ranked among the club's top offensive contributors. Barajas, in contrast, has been mired in a massive funk since June, reportedly prompting the Mets to shop him around in recent days.

His absence will certainly have an immediate impact on the team. With Barajas gone and Thole behind the plate more regularly, the Mets should give plenty of at-bats off the bench to Hessman, who had been the active Minor League leader with 329 career home runs before his promotion. Hessman, 32, was batting .274 with 18 homers and a .573 slugging percentage at Buffalo.

It's the sort of help the Mets can use. After the club was shut out the fourth time on its 11-game road trip Sunday, general manager Omar Minaya was noncommittal when asked if his coaching staff would remain intact for Tuesday's game against the Cardinals. Early Monday evening, after a series of meetings at Citi Field, a Mets official finally acknowledged that everything was "status quo" with the team, and that the coaching staff would indeed remain the same.

Hitting coach Howard Johnson had appeared to be in the most imminent danger.

The Mets also received one good bit of medical news on Monday. Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, whom manager Jerry Manuel contentiously removed from Sunday's game after Dickey felt tightness in his hip area, reported no soreness the next day. He will be reevaluated Tuesday, but should be fine to make his next start.

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.