Turner injures ankle as Mets lose another shortstop

New York Mets second baseman Justin Turner is

New York Mets second baseman Justin Turner is helped off the field after injuring his right ankle. (May 28, 2012) (Credit: AP)

It's time (again) to do the shortstop shuffle.

It's a painful, if familiar, dance for the Mets, and it goes something like this . . .

Step 1: Have Ruben Tejada strain his right quad legging out a bunt.

Step 2: Watch Ronny Cedeño strain his left calf swinging on a pitch during an eventual walk.

Step 3: Lose Justin Turner to a painful-looking injury that the Mets are saying is a sprained right ankle.

Step 4: Call up Omar Quintanilla.

Turner hurt himself after getting caught in a third-inning rundown in Monday's 8-4 loss to the Phillies; he screamed after landing awkwardly on his left leg about two steps from first base and injured his right ankle trying to step on the bag. The utility infielder, who was trying to advance on a throw to the plate, writhed in pain on the grass, becoming the latest in a long line of unfortunate Mets shortstops.

X-rays of the ankle were negative and manager Terry Collins said Turner likely will be out for at least two to three weeks. "The old adage is that sometimes sprains are worse than breaks, so we'll have to see," Collins said of the gravity of the injury. "From where I stood, I thought he blew out his Achilles tendon."

The Mets announced that Turner hurt himself stepping on the bag and injured only his ankle. He was with a trainer after the game and was unavailable to comment.

Turner's ankle is a twofold problem for the Mets. First, he can hit leadoff and plug a number of holes defensively and off the bench. The second and perhaps more pressing concern is that the Mets simply don't have that many viable shortstops left.

Quintanilla was called up from Triple-A Buffalo late Monday afternoon, but the task fell to David Wright in the final six innings Monday.

"We're thin at shortstop, obviously, if I'm playing there," said Wright, who played the position for only the second time in his nine-year major-league career. "It's tough to see him go down . . . He could come in, give us a very good pinch-hit at-bat . . . He could play all the infield positions, and I think you can plug him into the everyday lineup, too."

That was all but a necessity because of the injuries to Tejada, who is on the 15-day disabled list and who Collins said will try running again Tuesday, and Cedeño, who is listed as day-to-day. Cedeño was available for Monday's game, but Collins said he was hesitant to use him after he experienced calf discomfort during warm-ups.

Collins said Cedeño could hit but would have needed a pinch runner. "He would not have been able to play for certainly the majority of the game," he said, adding that Cedeño will not start Tuesday night.

The fear, for Collins, was a common one: "He was really afraid to bust it."

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