5/16/2014 12:00 A.M. ET
Mets hope Mejia can step up, claim closer role
By Anthony DiComo / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- The Mets want Jenrry Mejia to be their closer. They're just not willing to assign him that role yet.
Mejia was on call for ninth-inning duties Thursday against the Yankees, but until he demonstrates the ability to pitch on consecutive days as a reliever, the Mets will not name him their full-time closer.
Instead, manager Terry Collins will designate someone each day from a pool including Mejia, Jeurys Familia, Jose Valverde and Daisuke Matsuzaka. Whoever is fresh and pitching well will serve as the closer until one of them -- the Mets' preference is Mejia, but it could be anyone -- claims the job for good.
"If we felt he was ready to go back-to-back days, possibly three days in a row, he would be the guy," Collins said of Mejia. "He is not at that stage."
Part of the issue is that the Mets don't know for sure how Mejia, whose injury history is lengthy, will respond to the rigors of bullpen life. Many of his past issues stemmed from the early portion of his career as a reliever, and general manager Sandy Alderson noted that the Mets can't be certain he is beyond them until he proves it.
"We haven't seen him yet this year," Alderson said. "So I think Terry will be careful with him, but ultimately if he's going to be in that role, he's going to have to be available on a consistent basis. The first time we use him on a back-to-back basis, we'll see how he responds."
The Mets have already cycled through three closers this season, going from Bobby Parnell to Valverde to Kyle Farnsworth, who elected free agency after the Mets outrighted him Wednesday. Both Collins and Alderson consider it important to establish a full-time closer, with Alderson going as far as to say he would like to find someone to pitch the ninth even beyond this season -- the insinuation being that Parnell's job may not be waiting for him when he returns from injury next spring.
"It is important," Collins said. "We've talked so much about the game today and the importance of knowing your role when you come to the ballpark, when you're going to pitch, whether you're the setup guy or the seventh-inning guy or the left-handed specialist, whatever it may be. Those guys like to walk into the ballpark knowing exactly where they fit. Right now, I can't tell them that."
Added Alderson: "We'd love to have somebody emerge in that role who will be a fixture for some period of time -- not just this season, but perhaps longer than that. I don't think we're there yet.
"If you look at our bullpen, there is really one thing that stands out, and that is that we haven't converted the saves that we needed to convert. What we really need to do is find somebody who can close the game. Maybe that's two or three guys in some combination. If we can fix that, I think the 'pen's got a chance to be pretty good."
Mets pitchers' drought ends on deGrom's first hit
NEW YORK -- Thanks to Jacob deGrom, the Mets no longer have to worry about challenging a dubious 100-year-old record.
A former college shortstop, deGrom singled in his first big league plate appearance in the third inning of the Mets' 1-0 loss to the Yankees in the Subway Series finale on Thursday to record the first hit by any Mets pitcher this season. His teammates had been 0-for-64, establishing the longest hitless streak to start a season in Major League history.
"It felt good," deGrom said. "He threw me a first-pitch changeup, then the next one was a fastball. I just happened to hit it the other way."
The 1914 Cleveland Naps hold the all-time longest hitless streak for pitchers, going 0-for-92 during one midseason stretch.
DeGrom, a .176 career hitter in the Minors, already had two hits in 12 at-bats at Triple-A Las Vegas.
The Mets' hitless streak certainly was a team effort. Among the greatest offenders were Jenrry Mejia (0-for-16), Dillon Gee (0-for-14), Bartolo Colon (0-for-11) and Zack Wheeler (0-for-10). Mets pitchers batted .115 last season, with 34 hits in 296 at-bats.
Mets place d'Arnaud on concussion DL, recall Centeno
NEW YORK -- The Mets placed catcher Travis d'Arnaud on the seven-day concussion disabled list Thursday, retroactive to May 14, recalling Juan Centeno from Triple-A Las Vegas to take his place.
d'Arnaud has not played since taking an Alfonso Soriano backswing off his mask in Tuesday's game. Experiencing worsening concussion symptoms the following morning, d'Arnaud underwent a battery of tests on Wednesday and Thursday.
"He's still feeling the effects," general manager Sandy Alderson said.
d'Arnaud will be eligible to return Wednesday, but not sooner. In the interim, Centeno and regular backup Anthony Recker will split catching duties.
Known primarily for his defensive acumen, Centeno, 24, was batting .273 with one home run in 21 games for Las Vegas. He appeared in four games for the Mets late last season, earning a modicum of fame for becoming the first catcher to catch Reds speedster Billy Hamilton stealing.
d'Arnaud was batting .196 with three home runs in 31 games prior to his injury. Manager Terry Collins attributed the Soriano incident to the fact that d'Arnaud sets up closer to home plate than most catchers -- a double-edged strategy that has allowed him to become an expert at pitch framing.
"I've always said good catchers get under the hitter, and so they're susceptible to backswings," Collins said. "The closer you are to the plate, you get strike calls. There's a grading system out there now that monitors catchers who get called strikes. He's at the top of the group."
Edgin's promotion gives Mets lefty help in 'pen
NEW YORK -- As soon as lefty specialist Scott Rice spotted Josh Edgin in the Mets' clubhouse Thursday, he walked over and gave him a hug.
"Good to see you," Rice said -- and he assuredly meant it.
The Mets recalled Edgin from Triple-A Las Vegas on Thursday, giving the Mets a second left-hander to ease Rice's workload. Thanks to a mechanical adjustment at Las Vegas, Edgin believes he has rediscovered the form that made him a fixture in New York's bullpen from 2012-13.
"I knew I had the stuff to be here," said Edgin, who was topping out in the mid-90s in the Minors, posting seven consecutive scoreless outings prior to his promotion. "It was just finding where it was and stopping doing the stupid things mechanics-wise."
"It's nice to have that second lefty down there," manager Terry Collins said.
Edgin was thrown right into the action at an important part of the Mets' 1-0 loss to the Yankees in Thursday's Subway Series finale. Edgin was called in to replace Jeurys Familia with runners on the corners and two outs, and he got Jacoby Ellsbury to fly out on his first pitch to end the inning and the threat.
Edgin's overall ERA at Las Vegas was 4.97, and his 11 walks in 12 2/3 innings are cause for concern. But the left-hander believes his new mechanics -- he is standing taller on the mound, puffing out his chest in an effort to keep his delivery clean -- have fixed the problem.
As a result, the Mets called him Tuesday evening to deliver the news -- mere hours after his wife gave birth to the couple's second child, a daughter named Tenley Anderson.
"Very good day," Edgin said, laughing.
The Mets announced the return of their "Strikeouts for Savings" promotion. For every strikeout Mets pitchers record during this weekend's series against the Nationals, fans will receive a one-percent discount on future ticket purchases for home games from May 20-28. If Mets pitchers record 19 strikeouts in three games this weekend, for example, fans will receive a 19-percent discount. Discounted tickets will go on sale within one hour of the conclusion of Sunday's game at mets.com/strikeouts.