The floundering Mets, who have lost six consecutive games on their current road trip that continues tonight in Pittsburgh with a twilight-night doubleheader against the Pirates, hope to get some long-range assistance in the major league free agent draft today at the Americana Hotel.
But quicker relief is needed for the manpower-short Mets, who are weak in every department because of injuries. Manager Wes Westrum conferred here yesterday with club officials and scouts. The emphasis was on finding help somewhere in the Mets’ minor-league system, rather than attempting a trade on the major-league level.
One particularly good piece of news for Westrum in his meeting with Bing Devine, the club president and Bob Scheffing and Whitey Herzog, who are concerned with player development throughout the Met system, was the fine work being done by Nolan Ryan, a right-handed pitcher who was released recently from a six-month Army tour. After being initially assigned to Winter Haven in the Florida State League, where he allowed one hit in a four-inning appearance, Ryan pitched 2 2/3 innings for Jacksonville of the International League last Sunday. He faced 10 men and struck out eight, the last seven in order. He allowed only a bunt single and a walk. He is scheduled to work in relief once more and to start at least one game for Jacksonville. Because Ryan shows such exceptional promise, Devine and Westrum hope to bring him along slowly. Aside from the good news about Nolan, however, most of the other news was bad.
Ed Charles had an impacted wisdom tooth removed over the weekend and has been taking pain-killers. The third baseman will join the club in Pittsburgh tonight. Don Cardwell, who suffered a muscle spasm last week in Houston, had fluid removed from his right arm yesterday. The team physician allowed Cardwell to go to his home in Winston-Salem, N.C. with his elbow in a cast.
Jack Lamabe, a pitcher who suffered a pulled groin muscle before the start of the road trip, is expected to be out for at least a week. X-rays on Jack Fisher’s right hand, which was hurt by a batted ball in San Francisco, proved negative. Chuck Hiller, the utility infielder who has been on the disabled list with an injured hand, is still experiencing pain grasping a bat and will be out another week. Dick Selma, who was called up from Jacksonville last week, will probably start the second game tonight in Cardwell’s slot.