Off to a terrible start, the New York Mets are taking a second guess at second base.
The team cut opening-day starter Brad Emaus on Tuesday and recalled infielder Justin Turner from Triple-A Buffalo before the opener of a three-game series against Houston.
Turner was in the starting lineup against Astros left-hander Wandy Rodriguez and will probably platoon for now with left-handed hitting Daniel Murphy, manager Terry Collins said.
Looking for more production at the plate following a 5-11 start, the Mets designated Emaus for assignment and said it was unlikely they would try to keep him in the organization. He was plucked from Toronto's farm system in the Rule 5 draft at the winter meetings in December and given a brief shot to hold down the starting job at second base — a gaping hole for New York in recent years.
"I started seeing frustration in him a little bit and that bothers me, it scared me a little bit," Collins said. "One thing you want to be careful of at this level and that is putting a young player in a situation where he fails. Because when doubt starts to get in his mind, it could be a long road back. So I saw it, I was sensing it and I did not want him to be a bench player. I just didn't think it was fair to him or fair to us."
Emaus struggled out of the gate offensively, which was supposed to be his strong suit. He was 6 for 37 (.162) with one RBI and four walks. He also botched a double-play ball in a key situation last Thursday against Colorado.
"One of the things we saw in Brad in spring training was his ability to work the count, make the pitcher work. And what we have seen thus far in the season is they have gotten on top of him and he's had a tough time battling back from it," Collins said. "This is a tough league to learn how to play the game. We just thought that a change had to be made to get a little more offense in the lineup."
Turner was batting .300 (12 for 40) with three doubles, two triples and two RBIs for the Bisons. He has had three previous stints in the majors, going 4 for 35 (.114) with a double and three RBIs in 21 games with the Orioles and Mets from 2009-10.
"This is my fourth time being called up. You still kind of get excited about it and get that little feeling in your gut," Turner said.
Because he was obtained in the Rule 5 draft, the Mets had to keep Emaus on their 25-man major league roster all season if they wanted to maintain control of him.
If he clears waivers, New York must offer him back to the Blue Jays for $25,000. Any team that claims Emaus on waivers also would have to keep him on the big league roster all season to retain his rights.
The Mets cut veteran second baseman Luis Castillo in spring training, swallowing his $6 million salary after years of injuries and disappointing performance.
General manager Sandy Alderson referred to second base Tuesday as "an evolving situation."
Turner got the news about 9 a.m. and arrived in the Mets' clubhouse nearly three hours before game time after some flight complications. He was glad to leave Buffalo, where the Bisons were snowed out Monday.
"I'm excited. I woke up this morning ready to play down there, so I guess I just got a little extra rest," he said. "I feel ready to go."
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.