Mets third baseman Mark Vientos bats against the Chicago Cubs...

Mets third baseman Mark Vientos bats against the Chicago Cubs during the fifth inning of an MLB baseball game at Citi Field on Monday, April 29, 2024. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Shortly after arriving at the ballpark Tuesday, Mark Vientos got pulled into the manager’s office for what is becoming a familiar conversation: His bosses like him, they really do, but they just don’t have room for him right now, so they were sending him back to the minor leagues.

With Starling Marte returning from the bereavement list, the Mets made the obvious move: Vientos to Triple-A Syracuse.

Carlos Mendoza indicated that they didn’t seriously consider alternatives because, well, there really weren’t any.

“From the beginning when we called him up, we knew it was going to be a three-day (stay) until Marte was going to be back,” Mendoza said. “So there was not much (discussion about another choice).

“I was pretty honest with him. I’m not going to lie to a player. He’s doing everything we’re asking him to do. Just continue to get better, continue to get reps. Right now, we don’t have that opportunity here for you. Just know that we’ll be watching.”

Vientos went 3-for-7 with an 11th-inning, walk-off home run Sunday in three games (one start) during this cameo.

He said he was not surprised to get sent down.

 

“I was hoping for longer, but (they) kind of gave me an idea that it was just for Marte,” he said. “I think I did my job. When I got my at-bat, I did my job. When I went to play yesterday, I did my job. So it’s the most I could do.”

Whereas the Mets’ decision to have Vientos open the season in the minors was a surprise, this one was not. Vientos isn’t an easy fit given their current roster needs and the performance of others.

Brett Baty has cooled down at the plate — his average was down to .253 and OPS to .632 entering play Tuesday — but has been consistently praised by organizational decision-makers for his improved and stable defense. DJ Stewart, who made the team over Vientos at the end of spring training, hit well in the first month. And Joey Wendle has drawn scrutiny as a defensive-minded backup infielder who has made several fielding flubs, but the Mets, of course, need a backup shortstop/second baseman.

So Vientos is the odd man out for now.

“He handled it very professional(ly),” Mendoza said. “I’ll give him credit for that. Because it’s not easy as a young player trying to establish himself here at the big-league level for him to go through what he’s going through right now.”

Mendoza and president of baseball operations David Stearns said they have received positive reports regarding Vientos’ effort to improve defensively, which long has been a weakness.

“At times, it was really good and there were at times some mistakes as well,” Stearns said Monday of Vientos’ actual results. “And that’s going to be natural. It’s part of a natural progression.”

Mendoza said: “We have a lot of great people down there who are trying to help this kid, get him in a position where he’s an option here to be an everyday player.”

Marte, meanwhile, was out of the lineup because Mendoza wanted to give him a day to get reaccommodated. Mendoza expected Marte back in Wednesday (and perhaps mid-game Tuesday).

“We haven’t seen him for three days,” Mendoza said. “He’s traveling back and forth, very minimal physical activity. I just wanted to make sure that he moved around, went through a full workout today, took batting practice.”

Top prospect injured

Infielder/centerfielder Jett Williams, the Mets’ top prospect, went on the seven-day injured list with Double-A Binghamton because of a right wrist issue.

After he jammed it, sat out for a week and didn’t feel well enough to play, the Mets opted to officially sideline him. He might get a cortisone injection, and the Mets are inclined to take his return very slowly, given his importance to the organization.

Before getting hurt, Williams was off to a slow start at the plate, batting .180 with a .668 OPS. He also played several games at second base, his first professional exposure to that position, his potential eventual defensive home.

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