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Isringhausen Impresses Mets, Gets Minor League Deal

Jason Isringhausen while with the Cardinals in 2004. (Photo By Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Jason Isringhausen while with the Cardinals in 2004. (Photo By Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Jason Isringhausen agreed to a minor league contract with the Mets on Tuesday after auditioning with a brief bullpen session.

The right-hander threw early in the day at the team’s spring training complex and the Mets announced the move hours later. Isringhausen received an invitation to big league spring training.

The 38-year-old reliever hasn’t pitched in a major league game since elbow-ligament replacement surgery in June 2009 following a nine-game stint with the Tampa Bay Rays. His major league career began with the Mets in 1995, and Isringhausen pitched for Oakland from 1999-01 when Mets special assistant J.P. Ricciardi worked for the Athletics.

“All I need is a chance to throw in spring somewhere and hope for the best,” said Isringhausen, drafted by the Mets in 1991. “I’m just asking for a chance. No expectations. We’ll have fun with it and throw the baseball.”

Isringhausen has had three major operations on his pitching arm during a 14-year career, including one that kept him from pitching in 1998 while with the Mets. He became an All-Star with Oakland in 2000 and St. Louis in 2005, and he led the NL with 47 saves in 2004. He has a 45-50 career record with a 3.60 ERA and 293 saves.

“It’s the first time we’ve seen him,” Ricciardi said. “It’s just kind of digest everything and take it from there. He threw well. Obviously he’s in shape. He’s been throwing inside for so long, it’s a different environment.”

Isringhausen pitched in seven games last season for Triple-A Louisville in the Cincinnati Reds’ farm system, going 1-0 with a 9.53 ERA in 5 2-3 innings. The Reds offered him a spot in camp this year, but he thinks there might be a better opportunity with the Mets.

“Hopefully I can bring an elder person, so to speak, to help out some guys if they need it,” Isringhausen said. “This was hard to pass up. It’s where it all started.”

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson, who also watched the throwing session, immediately sounded open to the idea of extending an offer to Isringhausen.

“We’re always looking for ability, so we’ll see what happens,” Alderson said.

Can Isringhausen make the team, or are his best days behind him? Sound off in the comments below!

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

pixy Isringhausen Impresses Mets, Gets Minor League Deal