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Mets will give Dilson Herrera opportunity to impress

Mets second baseman Dilson Herrera makes his first

Mets second baseman Dilson Herrera makes his first major league putout on a ground ball from Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies in the top of the first inning at Citi Field on Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. Credit: Errol Anderson

Hours before Dilson Herrera became the youngest guy to play in the majors this season, the 20-year-old Mets prospect made his first rookie mistake.

Carrying his bat and batting gloves, Herrera casually strolled out of the Mets' indoor batting cage Friday after an early afternoon hitting session and mistakenly walked past the Mets' clubhouse.

It wasn't until Herrera wound up by the hallway that acts as Citi Field's main ground-floor passageway that he realized something wasn't right. Two security guards redirected him and got a laugh out of the situation.

Herrera smiled, too. This has been a whirlwind 24-hour stretch for him. He said he was surprised to learn after Double-A Binghamton's game late Thursday night that he was ticketed for New York City.

With an MRI of Daniel Murphy's right calf showing what general manager Sandy Alderson called "a significant issue," the Mets put him on the disabled list and decided to take an up-close look at the prospect who has skyrocketed up their minor-league depth chart.

"He's sort of come out of nowhere," Alderson said.

Acquired from the Pirates in the Marlon Byrd trade a year ago, Herrera was not on the Mets' radar at the start of the season and he began in Class A.

But Herrera is here because the Mets are in desperate need of offense. He posted an impressive slash line of .340/.406/.560 in 61 Double-A games.

So there he was playing second base and batting seventh for the Mets last night, kicking off what manager Terry Collins said will be a stretch of regular playing time.

Herrera's debut was inauspicious. He was 0-for-3, including a double-play ball on the first pitch he saw in the second inning, and he botched a grounder to his left for an error in the ninth inning of the Mets' 4-1 win over the Phillies.

Jacob deGrom (7-6, 2.94 ERA) allowed one unearned run in seven innings and Jenrry Mejia notched his 20th save.

"To be honest, I had a little bit of nerves going into the first inning, but after that, I was fine," Herrera said through an interpreter.

"He looked really calm, looked relaxed, comfortable," Eric Campbell said. "He didn't have tense at-bats. He was in two-strike counts and stayed calm, took some tough pitches."

Added Collins, "I'm sure he was a little nervous . . . It'll be fun to keep watching him play."

How well Herrera handles this could go a long way toward determining Murphy's future.

The Mets dangled Murphy in trade talks last winter and will be tempted to do so again this offseason, considering that Murphy is coming off his best season and will be due a considerable raise from his $5.7-million salary through arbitration.

"I talked to him [Thursday] night and I'll tell you, Murph's down," Collins said. "It's not about who's playing second base. He had some pretty big goals set and . . . he was chasing those goals. Now we're looking at quite a lengthy DL stint."

Collins said he told Murphy the Mets were calling up "a young kid that everyone is excited about" and added that Murphy wasn't bothered. "Dan said it would be great to see this kid play," Collins said. "That's about it. It wasn't too in depth about 'hey, this is still your job.' "

Alderson left open the possibility that Murphy's strained right calf won't be ready for games when he's eligible to come off the disabled list.

Notes & quotes: Triple-A Las Vegas manager Wally Backman was named the Pacific Coast League manager of the year. Collins said he's "very, very happy for Wally" and Alderson said it "reflects the work he's done this year."

New York Sports