Mike McCoy was playing cards in the 51s clubhouse Friday when he got the call.
About an hour before he was slated to start for Las Vegas against Salt Lake at Cashman Field, McCoy was told by 51s manager Marty Brown that he was going to Toronto — which removed second baseman Jayson Nix from its 6-4 win over Tampa Bay on Friday because of a lower left leg injury.
Scratched from the Las Vegas lineup, McCoy planned to board a red-eye flight to Toronto and be in uniform for today’s 10:07 a.m. PDT game against the Rays.
But it wouldn’t be surprising if he was sent back to Las Vegas within a couple of days. The 10th-year pro has already bounced back and forth between the big leagues and Triple A several times this season.
“It’s been crazy,” said McCoy, who made the Blue Jays out of spring training and batted .364 (4-for-11) in seven games before he was optioned to Las Vegas on April 12.
He actually left Toronto after its April 9 game against the Angels in Anaheim, Calif., and spent April 10 at home in his native San Diego.
When Blue Jays center fielder Rajai Davis left that night’s game because of an ankle injury in the fifth inning, McCoy was told he was going back up. But after Toronto used its entire bullpen in the 6-5, 14-inning loss, it called up a pitcher instead.
McCoy joined the 51s in Sacramento, Calif., then was called up by the Blue Jays on April 15. He flew from Sacramento to Boston, where he didn’t play in two games at Fenway Park, then was optioned back to Las Vegas on Monday, when he went 3-for-3 with three walks in the 51s’ 9-8 victory over Fresno.
He singled for Las Vegas in his first at-bat of Tuesday’s 4-0 win over Salt Lake, then was pulled from the game after the team learned Toronto second baseman Aaron Hill suffered a right hamstring injury that night in the Blue Jays’ 6-5 win over New York.
“They told me Hilly got hurt and they might DL him, so we’re taking you out just in case,” said McCoy, batting .292 (7-for-24) this season for the 51s (9-7).
But, as it turned out, McCoy remained in Las Vegas. Until Friday.
“After an examination of Aaron, they felt they wanted to wait,” Brown said. “He was pretty well on his way, but they called back and said they were going to wait and see how Aaron progresses.”
Through all the literal and emotional ups and downs, McCoy said he tries his best not to get frustrated.
“Right now I’m in a place where I’m not trying to get too high or too low,” he said. “I try to keep an even keel and go with the flow. I try to do my job wherever I go.
“I’m excited to go to the big leagues whenever I get called up, but I try not to get blindsided by getting sent down.”
The multi-talented McCoy played all three outfield spots and shortstop, second and third base for Toronto last season.
“My versatility has kind of kept me hanging around the game, but ideally I want to be an everyday player in the big leagues. I’m not getting any younger,” the 30-year-old said. “When I get up there, I try to produce and hopefully open some eyes to be an everyday player some day.”
■ NOTES — Infielder Craig Stansberry was promoted to Las Vegas from Double-A New Hampshire, and 51s outfielder Scott Podsednik was activated from the disabled list and sent to Single-A Dunedin.
Contact reporter Todd Dewey at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0354.SALT LAKE — 7
LAS VEGAS — 5
KEY: Ryan Ketchner pitched six strong innings for the Bees, who scored four runs in the eighth to take a 7-2 lead.
NEXT: 51s (RHP Scott Richmond) at Colorado Springs (RHP Alan Johnson), 4:05 p.m. today, KBAD-AM (920)