New York Mets call up former Xavier outfielder

Matt Watson moves up to major leagues and collects double in first at-bat | September 16, 2003

Matt Watson, a former member of the University’s baseball team, was called up to the major league New York Mets last week from the Class AAA Norfolk Tides of the International League. Through five games with the Mets, Watson has one hit in four at-bats, a pinch-hit double he collected in his first major league at-bat.

Mets manager Art Howe says he plans to use the 24-year-old Watson mostly as a left-handed pinch-hitter for the remainder of the season.

The 5-foot-11, 200-pound Watson spent the majority of the season with Norfolk, playing in 74 games and hitting .295 with 40 runs, 18 doubles, one triple, 11 home runs, 55 RBI and two stolen bases. Twice during the season he was placed on the disabled list and sent to Class A and Class AA teams for rehabilitation.

Watson was one of several former Xavier baseball players profiled in the Summer 2003 issue of Xavier magazine who have helped the program improve while placing themselves on the verge of a major league career.

The left-handed hitting, right-handed throwing outfielder played for the University from 1997 to 1999 and was originally drafted by the Montreal Expos. In his first year, playing for the Vermont Expos, he lit up opposing pitchers, setting the New York-Penn League single-season record for most hits with 108.

“There’s been a hundred major leaguers in that league, and he set the record,” says Xavier baseball coach John Morrey.

Injuries sidelined Watson for much of his second season, but he came back in 2001 to be the Expos’ organizational player of the year. Last year during the season he was traded from the Expos to the Mets and was sent to their AA team in Binghamton, N.Y., where he hit .286 and was advanced to the Tides.