Switzer an option for Mets against lefties
Southpaw expected to complement Feliciano in bullpen
NEW YORK -- Unsuccessful in his cameo as a left-handed specialist, Ken Takahashi is now back in his more familiar role as a long man. The Mets hope they won't need him on Saturday, when Fernando Nieve is to make a spot start against the Yankees in the Bronx. But they are prepared to use him if necessary.
They are also prepared to use Jon Switzer in the role that Takahashi couldn't adequately fill on Thursday night. Knowing that Pedro Feliciano can't face every left-handed hitter in every late-inning situation, the Mets on Friday promoted Switzer to fill the roster spot of disabled right-hander John Maine.
Switzer, 29 years old and a teammate of Brian Stokes in what was a historically unsuccessful 2007 Rays bullpen, has retired Triple-A batters at will this season. He has produced a 2.13 ERA in 25 1/3 innings and -- of more interest to the Mets -- he has held left-handed hitters to a .186 average.
Even throughout four forgettable stints in the big leagues, Switzer had always enjoyed success against left-handed batters.
"He gives us some options," Mets manager Jerry Manuel said.
"It's nothing specific I do against a lefty," Switzer said. "They're all different, and they post different challenges."
The Yankees pose more than a few, considering their .297 average against lefties this season -- good for second in the league. But that's more a product of most of their star hitters -- Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Jorge Posada -- being either right-handed or switch-hitters than it is about their ability to beat the odds.
The Yankees' three main left-handed hitters -- Johnny Damon, Robinson Cano and Hideki Matsui -- have combined to hit .258 against lefties this season.
And so the Mets will attempt to play the matchup game this weekend, using some combination of Feliciano and Switzer against left-handed hitters. Takahashi won't factor into that mix. After contributing heavily to Thursday's 6-3 loss to the Phillies, Takashi will instead wait and see if he is needed in long relief on Saturday, when Nieve will make his first big league start since 2006.
Until then, the Mets will entrust their late-inning matchups to a different left arm.
"I really don't know what my role is expected to be," Switzer said. "Right now, I'm just happy to be here."
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.