NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Where does Jenrry Mejia fit with the Mets?
At this point it’s a mystery, but manager Terry Collins says he expects him to be a valuable addition no matter what his role is.
Mejia is currently competing for the fifth spot in the rotation, but Collins seems to think the 24-year-old right-hander may help the Mets more coming out of the bullpen. That’s not to say he won’t beat out Daisuke Matsuzaka and John Lannan for the final starting spot, but he offers the type of flexibility the Mets could use considering their bullpen is a massive question mark heading into the season.
“What’s our best bet?” Collins said. “[If] we’ve got five good guys and he’s the sixth, we have a spot in the bullpen for an arm like that, with that kind of stuff, that might be a fit for him.”
The Mets have hitched their wagons in the pen to reclamation projects. Kyle Farnsworth is 37 and has bounced around, and Jose Valverde, though once was one of the best closers in the American League, is 35 and coming off a lost 2013 season, appearing in only 20 games and posting a 5.59 ERA with Detroit before being designated for assignment on June 21 and then released on Aug. 7.
If relegated to the bullpen, Mejia, who has made 40 relief appearances with the Mets since 2010, would likely join Scott Rice, Vic Black, Gonzalez Germen, Josh Edgin and Bobby Parnell, who is coming off neck surgery that wiped out a good potion of his 2013 season.
Mejia went 1-2 with a 2.30 ERA in five starts last season before undergoing surgery to remove a bone spur in his right elbow. Collins said Mejia is now healthy and would definitely add an element to the relief corps if he doesn’t win a rotation spot.
“One thing we know about [Mejia], he can pitch out of the bullpen — we’ve seen it,” Collins said. “Last year there were some people in the organization who felt maybe he couldn’t be a starter, there is such a maximum effort in his delivery. He proved them wrong. He can go out there and start and get you deep into a game, so he’s got that to his benefit.”
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