There was a surprise announcement from Mickey Callaway shortly before Sunday’s game with the Dodgers: Shortstop Amed Rosario was being sent to the bench for a couple of games in favor of Jose Reyes.
Rosario, 22, is hitting .245 in his first full big-league season. He’ll be replaced by Reyes, 35, who a few weeks ago seemed to be on the way out. Reyes had been 6-for-20 this month but went 0-for-5 in the Mets’ 8-7, 11-inning loss on Sunday, dropping his average to .170.
When Rosario was called up last August, he was considered the jewel in an otherwise paltry minor-league system. Given his recent statistics, it’s unclear why he was benched, as he went 10-for-30 during a career-best eight-game hitting streak from June 14-22. He was 0-for-3 Saturday and grounded out in the bottom of the 11th Sunday after replacing Reyes in the top half.
“So we’re going to give Rosie the next couple days off,’’ Callaway said before the game. “Reyes has been swinging the bat really well. We’re going to let him play for a couple of days, take just a little bit of a break [with Rosario], work on some things and go from there.’’
Rosario was informed of the move when he arrived at Citi Field earlier in the day. “We brought him in, talked to him, sat him down,’’ Callaway said. “We’re gonna make sure we take these couple days, work on some things in his overall game. This young guy’s still trying to develop at the major-league level and these couple of days will allow him to get some work in the cage, some work done on the field taking some ground balls. So we thought this would be really good for him.’’
Rosario did not seem upset, saying through his interpreter, “I’m just having a couple of days for me to relax and enjoy the game. I’m available to come from the bench. It’s OK, something that I understand. It’s something that will help me and I agree with that.
“It’s something that will help me from the perspective from watching the game from the dugout to see how the other pitchers, the rival pitchers, are working against us so I can see how they’re doing and take advantage of that . . . I see one day . . . I do very well and the other days it doesn’t happen.’’
Asked if it’s better to play when he’s struggling or sit, Rosario said, “That’s something that is the manager’s decision. That’s something that he does for my own good.”