It seemed like a no-brainer out of loyalty, if nothing else.
Ken Oberkfell, who has managed the Mets’ Triple-A team for most of the last six years, will get a chance to interview for the opening with the big-league team.
Oberkfell has certainly paid all of his dues. He was Baseball America’s Minor League Manager of the Year in 2005. He’s managed the Mets’ Triple-A franchise through stops in Norfolk, New Orleans and Buffalo, with the only interruption coming when he became the team’s major league first-base coach for a spell in 2008 after Willie Randolph was fired as manager.
He’s even managing at this very moment. The interview will take place in the Dominican Republic because he’s trying to lead the Leones del Escogido to a second straight DWL championship.
A 16-year major leaguer, Oberkfell hit .278/.351/.362 with six clubs between 1977 and 1992. He had little power, but he amassed a 356/546 K/BB ratio in 4,874 career at-bats.
Oberkfell will be the seventh candidate interviewed by the Mets, joining fellow team employees Wally Backman, Terry Collins, Chip Hale, Dave Jauss and Bob Melvin and Red Sox bench coach DeMarlo Hale. Still on tap are Clint Hurdle and Don Wakamatsu.
Jared Diamond of The Wall Street Journal reports that Mets second baseman Neil Walker is expected to undergo season-ending surgery to fix a herniated disk in his lower back. Walker has avoided the disabled list but hasn’t played since last Saturday and has only two starts since August 22.
If Walker does indeed go under the knife, he’ll end his first season with the Mets with a terrific .282/.347/.476 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 55 RBI in 458 plate appearances. While the Mets couldn’t have foreseen Daniel Murphy having such a terrific season, Walker was more than adequate in Murphy’s shoes at second base.
Kelly Johnson and Wilmer Flores have handled second base in Walker’s absence and will continue to do so through the remainder of the season.
Rockies 1B/OF Stephen Cardullo celebrated his 29th birthday on Wednesday, so the rookie decided to celebrate by homering in both games of his team’s doubleheader at home against the Dodgers.
In the first game, Cardullo pinch-hit for Chris Rusin in the seventh inning and drilled a solo home run off of Casey Fien. In the second game, Cardullo smacked a grand slam to left-center field off of Bud Norris in the first inning.
Cardullo made his major league debut this past Friday. He was hitless in his first five at-bats before singling as a pinch-hitter on Monday.