In placing Daniel Murphy on the disabled list Thursday, the Mets saw an opportunity to get a jump-start on their 2015 tryouts.
The club -- which also put reliever Vic Black on the DL -- will use the opportunity created by Murphy's injury to get its first look at Dilson Herrera, 20, at second base.
Acquired from the Pirates in the Marlon Byrd trade last August, Herrera has played well in the minors, hitting .333 (79-for-237) with 17 doubles, nine home runs and 47 RBIs for Double-A Binghamton after starting the season in Class A.
Murphy, who hasn't played since Sunday in Los Angeles because of a right calf injury, had been confident that he would need only a day or two of rest, but an MRI Thursday showed a strain. The Mets thought it would be best to rest him and, in the process, perhaps take a peek at his possible replacement.
Black, who was acquired along with Herrera from the Pirates in that trade, received an epidural after an MRI a day earlier revealed a herniated disc. He said doctors told him he does not need surgery, just six weeks of complete rest after the season.
Black thought he would miss only a few days, but manager Terry Collins said the Mets have to be "very careful" with him in light of Bobby Parnell's neck issues last summer. Parnell also was diagnosed with a herniated disc and didn't pitch after July 30. He had surgery in September.The issue will becomemoot when the rosters expand Monday.Staying in Las Vegas
The Mets will keep their Triple-A team in Las Vegas through the 2016 season despite the travel complications that come with the long-distance arrangement. They announced a two-year contract extension with the Las Vegas 51s, who have been their Triple-A affiliate since 2012.
Having their top minor-leaguers playing two time zones away presents challenges when the Mets need to call up a player for that night's game, but the team says it has been pleased with the working relationship.
Said general manager Sandy Alderson, "Maintaining continuity in Vegas is something we know will benefit our players, the city, fans and entire community.''