Nipomo High School graduate Jeff McNeil got a call Monday night he had been waiting on for a long time.
It was New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway with some good news — McNeil was being added to the New York Mets’ 40-man roster.
“I am just really excited, really happy to be here,” McNeil, 26, told reporters Tuesday before the game.
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His parents, who flew in from Santa Barbara, were on hand when he made his Big League debut Tuesday at Citi Field in Flushing Meadows against the San Diego Padres.
McNeil, an infielder who was taken by the Mets in the 12th round of the 2013 MLB Draft, has been red hot at the plate in the minor leagues this season. In stints with the Las Vegas 51s (AAA) and Binghamton Rumble Ponies (AA), the left-handed Long Beach State product carried batting averages of .368 and .327, respectively, and hit 19 total home runs.
McNeil, a natural second baseman didn’t get the start Tuesday, but he is expected to play third base once he is inserted into the lineup. That could change if second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera, who is the target of trade talks, moves on.
Manager Mickey Callaway told MLB.com that McNeil could also bounce around the infield and even play in the outfield. McNeil takes the roster spot of the injured Yoenis Cespedes and will wear No. 68.
McNeil joins a Mets team that has struggled all season, in large part due to injuries. The Mets were in last place in the National League East Division with a 40-57 record heading into Tuesday’s game.