Darin Ruf came over from San Francisco in a 1-for-4 trade Tuesday to help boost the offense against lefthanded pitching. But he had yet to carry a bat up to the plate or a glove out to the field before Friday night.
Fellow pre-trade deadline acquisitions Tyler Naquin and Daniel Vogelbach had been playing and contributing. But Buck Showalter finally sent Ruf up as a pinch hitter in the fifth inning of the Mets’ 9-6 loss to Atlanta at Citi Field.
And Ruf delivered a two-run double off lefty Dylan Lee in his first at-bat as a Met.
“It takes a little bit of the pressure off,” Ruf said. “Tyler and Vogey have been swinging the bat really well, so I felt like I needed to pull some weight for some of the new guys.”
Ruf stayed in and played left. He finished 1-for-3.
“He’s just a professional hitter and teammate,” Showalter said.
Vogelbach has been a big addition to the Mets in more ways than one.
The 6-foot, 270-pound DH/ first baseman has a 1.026 OPS since being acquired from Pittsburgh. Vogelbach is batting .313 — 10-for-32 — with two doubles, two homers, five RBIs and eight walks in 11 games. He has reached in 19 of his 41 plate appearances.
Showalter has been very impressed with the lefty hitter’s patience at the plate.
“You think about when you have that type of power and that ability to hit balls where they can’t catch them, you’d think that would lend him to wanting to swing more,” the manager said. “The discipline required not to do that is remarkable. That’s why it’s so rare and that’s why it’s a commodity that people want, including us. It’s hard. I couldn’t do it.”
The Mets have a split doubleheader Saturday. David Peterson is being called up from Syracuse to start the opener. Max Scherzer will start the nightcap.
Scherzer has said he prefers pitching the second game of doubleheaders. That way, he knows that if the bullpen already has been taxed, he has to go deep.
Righty Jake Odorizzi will start the opener and lefty Max Fried will start the second game for Atlanta.
The commissioner’s office announced that Mets minor-league outfielder Karell Paz was suspended for 60 games without pay. Paz, who has spent most of the season in rookie ball, had a positive test for the performance-enhancing substance Stanozolol.