NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Three weeks into the season, the New York Mets are trying their third closer.
Mets manager Terry Collins said Sunday he is promoting setup man Kyle Farnsworth to the ninth-inning role in place of struggling right-hander Jose Valverde, who has given up four home runs in his last three outings.
Valverde got the job when Bobby Parnell went down with an elbow injury after blowing a save on opening day. Parnell had Tommy John surgery and is out for the season.
Valverde has two saves in three chances and a 5.40 ERA. Farnsworth, a 38-year-old former Yankee, has a 1.23 ERA in eight appearances, throwing 6 1/3 scoreless innings in his past seven games.
Against the Angels on April 12, Valverde gave up a 3-run lead in the ninth inning as Los Angeles forced extra innings. The Mets salvaged the victory, however, thanks to Anthony Recker’s 13th-inning home run.
Both veterans were signed to minor league contracts in February and added to the big league roster to shore up a suspect bullpen. Valverde broke camp with the team and Farnsworth was called up from Triple-A Las Vegas when Parnell went on the disabled list April 2.
Collins said Valverde understood the move and he wants the three-time All-Star to start using other pitches besides his fastball. The 36-year-old Valverde, who has 288 career saves, agreed that he might need to throw his splitter more often.
Farnsworth has 54 major league saves, including two for Pittsburgh last year and a career-high 25 with Tampa Bay in 2011.
As of Sunday afternoon, the Mets were 8-9 and in third place in the National League East.
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