Pedro Martinez will be spending some time away from the New York Mets after the passing of his father in the Dominican Republic. Among the candidates to fill-in for him on Saturday were Ruddy Lugo, Brian Stokes, Jon Niese, Nelson Figueroa, and Claudio Vargas. All of those players either did not have adequate rest or Major League experience. Chosen instead was journeyman right-hander Brandon Knight. Knight appeared in 11 games for the Yankees in 2001-2002, and spent time since then in the Pirates system, as well as independent leagues.
Knight was close to retirement earlier this year, but encouragement from his wife helped him choose to return to baseball.
“My wife, Brooke, convinced me to go for it and in my heart, I felt I needed to give myself one more chance,” he said.
Since Knight joined the Mets AAA affiliate New Orleans Zephyrs in May this season, he has a 5-1 record and an era of 1.60, with 49 strikeouts in 39 1/3 innings. His performance helped earn him an invite to the US Olympic Team in Beijing, as well as Pacific Coast League player of the week award after a 6-inning 12 K performance.
Martinez is only expected to miss one start, but Knight’s performance will decide if he will stay with the NL East leading Mets for longer.