NEW YORK -- Over more than half a century of Mets history, only a handful of players drafted in the 34th round or later have made the Majors. Fewer still have made any sort of impact while here.
Seth Lugo learned he was about to join the club, with a puncher's chance at the big leagues, while out at dinner on Wednesday evening. Needing an arm to supplement their depleted bullpen, the Mets called on Lugo, who had about two hours to rush home, pack his essentials and board a red-eye to New York.
"It's unbelievable," Lugo said. "I'm still trying to figure out if this was real or not."
It is real and, for the Mets, a matter of necessity. Though Lugo posted a 6.55 ERA over 13 starts and six relief appearances for Triple-A Las Vegas this season, the Mets felt uninsured for the possibility that Steven Matz, who is pitching through a bone spur in his elbow, would not go deep into Thursday's game. Regular long men Logan Verrett and Sean Gilmartin were both spent from pitching on Wednesday.
"We thought we should have a guy who could give us some length," manager Terry Collins said.
That guy wound up being Lugo, the Mets' No. 22 prospect, who burst onto the organizational radar last year after posting a 3.84 ERA between Double-A Binghamton and Las Vegas. Despite the usual stigma attached to late Draft picks, Lugo made the Mets' 40-man roster this winter, transforming the prospect of a big league debut into something more real.
"I just kept my nose down and kept working hard," Lugo said. "I never really thought, just because I was a 34th-round pick, I wasn't going to make it. I had the same dream as everyone else."
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.