NEW YORK -- Faced with the prospect of losing right-handed pitcher Carlos Torres to a contract technicality, the Mets on Saturday selected Torres' contract from Triple-A Las Vegas and optioned right-hander Greg Burke to the Minors. Torres will be in uniform for Sunday's series finale against the Cubs.
To make room for Torres on the 40-man roster, the Mets designated right-hander Collin McHugh for assignment. They now risk losing McHugh to another team's waiver claim.
Torres, 30, had a mid-June opt-out date written into his contract, allowing him to seek free-agent deals elsewhere if the Mets did not promote him. So they made the move and optioned Burke, who escaped a bases-loaded jam in Saturday's game.
Torres was 6-3 with a 3.89 ERA in 12 starts at Vegas, striking out 67 batters and walking 19. A veteran of the Rockies and White Sox, Torres holds a 5.97 ERA in 44 career Major League games.
His resume may have blemishes, but rather than risk losing Torres, the Mets chose to risk losing the younger McHugh. Though McHugh struggled in three appearances with the Mets this season, including a spot start, he also posted a 2.87 ERA in nine starts at Vegas as a 25-year-old.
The move also forced the Mets to option Burke, whose submarine delivery had yielded just one earned run since the Mets recalled him on May 12. Burke's 0.71 ERA over that span was by far the best of any pitcher who spent significant time in New York.
The Mets are not done making moves either, needing to clear roster space for Zack Wheeler to join the team next week. Scott Atchison is also nearing a return from the disabled list, meaning the Mets may need to dump two more relief pitchers in the coming days.
Alderson preaches patience to season-ticket holders
NEW YORK -- In a meeting with a group of season-ticket holders on Saturday, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson preached patience while admitting some of the franchise's recent shortcomings.
"At some point, the best that you can do is have a little patience," Alderson said to an assembly of season-ticket holders at Citi Field. "Unfortunately, I've been preaching that for two and a half years, and it's wearing thin. But we're almost there."
For more than 30 minutes, Alderson joined manager Terry Collins, catcher John Buck, and pitchers Matt Harvey, Dillon Gee and Bobby Parnell in answering questions from fans and emcee Howie Rose. A significant number of the queries were directed at Alderson, who spoke generally about his tenure.
"The only thing I can say is that we go into every season with high expectations," Alderson said. "Sometimes those expectations are very realistic, sometimes they are less realistic than others. But we go into every season with high expectations, in the hopes that we're going to have a very solid team on the field.
"At the same time, I have said over time that this is an effort to create a successful -- but also sustainable -- organization. And believe me, what's happened over the last month and a half has pained everybody in attendance here, as it's pained all of us, too. What I've tried to do since I've gotten here is have a slightly longer-term view of things, in order to get us to the point where every year, you have the expectation -- I have the expectation -- that we're going to be successful and have a winning team."
As evidence of that plan, Alderson pointed to his track record of prudence with regard to trades and long-term contracts, as well as his commitment to protecting top Draft picks.
"My goal here -- believe me -- is to have a group of fans, Mets fans, who are happy [about] their support of the Mets, proud of their support of the Mets," the general manager said. "I know this is a difficult time and, believe me, I feel like everybody here feels. Everybody's working as hard as they can to make this successful and to make all of you proud of your support of the Mets. For me, it's not about buying tickets. It's about your relationship with the team."
Collins wants to give Valdespin a chance to succeed
NEW YORK -- Jordany Valdespin's run of playing time is not quite going as planned for the Mets. Since taking over as the team's everyday second baseman in the wake of Ike Davis' demotion to the Minors, Valdespin has gone 2-for-15 with no walks, three strikeouts and no extra-base hits, entering play on Saturday.
He does have some rope at the position, but that will not last all summer long. If Valdespin continues to struggle, manager Terry Collins said the Mets will consider moving him back to the bench and inserting either Lucas Duda or Justin Turner at first base.
"That's a legitimate question," Collins said about Valdespin's future. "We're going to grade him out. I want to see how he does, where he can accumulate enough at-bats where we can make a proper decision on whether or not he's going to be an everyday player. It's tough when you haven't played much, and then all of the sudden you're slammed in there for three or four games. I think the sample needs to be a little more than that."
Collins' ideal situation is for Valdespin to succeed at second until Davis returns from the Minors, at which point Daniel Murphy can slide back to the keystone and Valdespin can return to the bench. But if Davis struggles at Triple-A Las Vegas and Valdespin also scuffles in the infield, the Mets may start thinking longer term. That could mean moving Duda from left field back to his natural position at first -- a move the Mets have been hesitant to make on a temporary basis.
Right now, it all hinges upon Valdespin's success.
"What I look for is whether or not he's adjusting," Collins said. "Is he making adjustments at the plate? At this level, that's what it's all about."
• Right-handed reliever Scott Atchison (right elbow inflammation) pitched a scoreless inning on Friday night for Double-A Binghamton, and is scheduled to throw again on Saturday. If all goes well, Atchison could be activated as soon as Tuesday in Atlanta.
• Left-hander Pedro Feliciano also pitched a scoreless inning for Binghamton. It was the first game action since May 3 for Feliciano, who has been battling a serious bout of food poisoning.
• Alderson confirmed that the Mets will hold pitching prospect Rafael Montero to an innings limit of around 150-160 this season. That will likely preclude Montero from making his big league debut before 2014, despite the right-hander's recent promotion to Las Vegas.
• New York officially signed fourth-round pick L.J. Mazzilli, son of former Met Lee Mazzilli, on Saturday. The infielder out of Connecticut will report to Class A Brooklyn of the New York-Penn League.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. David Wilson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.