Delgado has surgery; 10 weeks to recover
Tear in right hip repaired; Minaya content with in-house subs
LOS ANGELES -- Flip the calendar forward exactly 10 weeks and draw a circle on the date -- three days shy of baseball's non-waiver Trading Deadline. Assuming no setbacks, the Mets will spend that much time waiting for Carlos Delgado's return from hip surgery and that much time mulling whether they should trade for a replacement.
Odds are, they won't. Hours after Delgado underwent successful surgery Tuesday to remove a bone spur and repair a torn labrum in his right hip, Mets general manager Omar Minaya said he was not actively pursuing another first baseman.
The Mets are now expecting Delgado back around the end of July and are content to stick with their current personnel in the interim, using a combination of Fernando Tatis, Daniel Murphy and Jeremy Reed at first base.
"We feel that we have the answers within the organization with Tatis, with Murphy, with Reed," Minaya said on a conference call Tuesday afternoon. "I do feel that our guys are going to have to step up, and I think they will and get the job done."
Though Minaya said that he considered Murphy a long-term solution at first base, his manager, Jerry Manuel, revealed later Tuesday that was unsure when he would use Murphy at the position.
After Reed committed a game-ending error Monday night at Dodger Stadium, Manuel said he felt obligated to give the natural outfielder another opportunity.
"I'd like to give Murphy a shot, but I don't want to bench a guy because he did what he did last night," Manuel said. "I'd like to give [Reed] another chance out there and see how he does."
Considering none of the three in-house candidates has much -- or any, in Murphy's case -- professional experience at first base, rumors regarding potential trades have already begun swirling around the team. But Minaya said he didn't feel inclined to look for a permanent solution to a temporary problem -- even if he will still poke around the market.
"I'm always going to be looking around," Minaya said. "I'm never going to stop looking around," he said. "We will continue to be active in conversations with clubs."
The Mets can feel at least reasonably confident that Delgado will return in the allotted 10 weeks, thanks to a recent rash of hip surgeries across baseball. Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees, Chase Utley of the Phillies, Mike Lowell of the Red Sox and Alex Gordon of the Royals have all undergone successful hip surgeries since the end of last season.
Although Gordon is still recovering from his April operation, the other three have all returned with no ill effects.
Lowell, too, is 35 years old, just a year and a half younger than the 36-year-old Delgado.
"I think everybody's in agreement that these things, when they're done, they're successful," Minaya said. "He should be back playing with no problem."
The problem is what to do in the interim. The Mets proved Monday just how defensively fragile they have become, committing five errors in a 3-2 loss to the Dodgers. They did so with Reed making his third career start at first base, third-string shortstop Ramon Martinez flying across the country to fill in for the injured Alex Cora, Angel Pagan making his first start in left field in more than a year, and Gary Sheffield -- a designated hitter for most of the past two seasons -- starting in right field.
Reed committed one error; Martinez, two. And Pagan directly caused Carlos Beltran to commit the error that set up the winning rally in the 11th.
Regardless, Minaya said he did not think players playing out of position would continue to hurt the Mets.
"Last night does not change anything," Minaya said.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.