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Valdespin's wrong move turns out right

Jordany Valdespin is one of the great enigmas of the New York Mets organization. The scouting reports all say enormous raw talent, but sometimes questionable work ethic.

Valdespin, who stunned Philadelphia closer Jonathan Papelbon for a game-winning three-run homer earlier this month that was his first major-league hit, went 2 for 20 with the Mets and is back in Buffalo to be the Herd's regular second baseman.

He drove a pinch homer on his first swing back with the Herd May 19 against Indianapolis but then went 0 for 3 with three strikeouts and two errors the next day. He was 1 for 8 when manager Wally Backman and other Mets instructors and Bisons coaches convened a meeting with him here last week.

"He's got all the tools in the world and it's our job to develop him and get talent out of him," Backman said Saturday after Valdespin drove home the tying run and stayed in a rundown long enough to allow Valentino Pascucci to score the winning run in Buffalo's 8-7 victory over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Valdespin, 24, has four hits and has been on base five times the last three days. He lashed his game-tying single the other way to left off Scranton's Manny Delcarmen to pull Buffalo even at 7-7 in the eighth.

"I had more concentration with men on second and third," Valdespin said. "I was thinking about a groundball to the middle, trying to drive in this run."

With runners at the corners and Brad Emaus pinch-hitting with one out, Valdespin took off for second. He stopped, got himself in a rundown and was tagged out but Pascucci snuck home on the fielder's choice before a throw could get him.

"It's a bad baserunning play [by Valdespin] and we got away with it," Backman said.

"My plan was to drive the other run home," Valdespin said. "If you go early, you can stop in the middle and you can be run down like I did."

Valdespin said he learned from several Mets veterans while with New York but needed a couple days to regroup after returning to Triple-A.

"I came to the field here a little bit tired. Now I'm back to concentrating and playing the game," he said.

"I have a good future. the only thing I need to do is stay focused, play hard and see what happens. They have the decisions. I want to concentrate here and help my team win."

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Right-hander Jenrry Mejia, the former Mets' No. 1 prospect on the road back from Tommy John surgery, has been promoted from Double-A Binghamton and will start for the Herd Wednesday night against Columbus.

Mejia, 22, made five starts for the Bisons last season (1-2, 2.86) but was shut down with elbow pain after his April 29 start in Rochester and underwent surgery two weeks later in Manhattan. He's made four starts this year between Class A St. Lucie (Fla.) and Double-A Binghamton.

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Outfielder Fred Lewis belted a three-run homer for the Bisons on Saturday. Pascucci went 3 for 3 and scored twice, while reliever Elvin Ramirez tossed a scoreless sixth to push his scoreless innings streak to 11 2/3 over his first nine Triple-A appearances. The series wraps up today at 1:05 (Radio 1520 AM) as Buffalo's Chris Schwinden (3-3) meets Scranton veteran Ramon Ortiz (2-3).

e-mail: mharrington@buffnews.com