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Mets call up Hefner, send back Valdespin

TORONTO -- Jeremy Hefner won't start Sunday for the Bisons against Indianapolis as the Mets were forced to call him up today to shore up their bullpen after last night's 14-5 debacle against the Blue Jays.  Starter Jon Niese went only three innings and ex-Bisons catcher Rob Johnson had to pitch the eighth, so a long man was needed to back up Miguel Batista for today's game.

The Bisons do, however, get some reinforcements as Jordany Valdespin was optioned back to Buffalo. Valdespin hit .276 with two homers and seven RBIs in 17 games for the Herd. He started in center field in 14 of those games but will likely play mostly second base for the Herd now that Bobby Scales has gone to Japan.

"When he was in Buffalo before, the kid who playing second base there [Scales] was playing absolutely great," Mets manager Terry Collins said here this morning. "But he's not there anymore so I think Valdespin will play a lot more second base, which I think he needs to do."

Valdespin was just 2 for 20 in 15 games with the Mets but one of his hits was a huge one -- a three-run pinch homer in the ninth inning off Philadelphia closer Jonathan Papelbon that gave the Mets a 5-2 win over the Phillies May 7 in Citizens Bank Park.

Valdespin got plenty of outfield work in spring training as well and could play that in the big leagues as well. But don't look for him at shortstop much anymore. Omar Quintanilla is entrenched there in Buffalo and Collins said today the Mets don't envision Valdespin as a shortstop down the road because he simply hasn't played many games there over his minor-league career.

Collins said Ruben Tejada will begin rehab games as soon as Monday. Players typically start at Class A St. Lucie (Fla.) but it's possible Tejada could be in Buffalo for a day or two at the end of next week.

As scheduled, David Wright is getting today off. If you're coming to tomorrow's 1:05 game here, you might not see Wright either. Collins said Wright's head cold is actually worse today than it was yesterday, when he spoke to me through a heavily raspy voice.

Be sure to check out my chat with the game's hottest hitter in Sunday's Inside Baseball column.

---Mike Harrington

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