Morning Mets Notes: Bobby Parnell Continues to Make Case to Be The Closer

By Matt Musico

One of the positives the New York Mets can take from yesterday’s 3-2 loss at the hands of the Tigers was the performance of Bobby Parnell. In the ninth inning, the right-hander threw another 1-2-3 ninth inning, as his spring ERA stands at 0.00 to go with a 0.60 WHIP and .111 opponent batting average in 5 innings pitched. Today will be the next step forward, as Parnell is scheduled to pitch back-t0-back days for the first time this season.

I’ve been very impressed with how clean Parnell’s outings have been so far, as he is hopefully ready to continue building on the progress he made last season in New York. As Frank Francisco is getting ready to start throwing off a mound again, it may get a little awkward with the $6.5 million man not closing, but Terry Collinssaid if Parnell continues to perform in the ninth, he’s going to let him run away with the job. There’s still no guarantee Frank Frank will be ready for Opening Day, but if he is, it certainly doesn’t look like he’ll be the closer.

March 8, 2013; Lakeland, FL, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Bobby Parnell (39) throws a pitch during the sixth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

If Francisco isn’t going to shut it down in the 9th inning, it’s hard to find another role for him that he’s not going to be awful in. Brandon Lyon has been performing well enough to secure the set-up role with New York, and if that holds true, I see absolutely no value in Francisco being a middle reliever, especially when there are plenty of other relievers that could be more qualified for that. I wouldn’t be surprised at all at the end of camp if the Mets pulled a move similar to what they did with Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez a couple of springs ago and just cut him from the team, and eating his salary. We’ll see how that plays out.

It doesn’t look like there is anything alarming when it comes to Jenrry Mejia‘s thyroid condition; he’s been cleared to resume baseball activity and got back up on the mound yesterday, but the doctors instructed him to stay away from seafood. I didn’t know if I was remembering correctly, but Jose Reyes had a similar issue a couple years ago with his thyroid as well, and the doctors told him the same thing (thank you Adam Rubin). So, thankfully this isn’t expected to hinder Mejia’s time on the mound this spring. Travis d’Arnaud is day-to-day after getting hit in the forearm with a pitch, and it doesn’t seem serious, as he was pulled from yesterday’s contest as a precaution once him arm tightened up.

As I mentioned before, the Mets dropped their game against the Tigers yesterday, 3-2. Dillon Gee got the start and allowed three walks in four innings of work, but shrugged off his lack of control after the game. We also had a LaTroy Hawkins sighting, as the righty worked out of some trouble and put together a scoreless fifth. Jordany Valdespin hit his second homer of the spring while making his first start in the outfield, as Danny Abriano mentions in yesterday’s game recap that he could be giving the Mets plenty to think about. His bat and versatility in the field combined with the poor play of Mike Baxter, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, and Lucas Duda could put him on the Big League roster.

This week’s Rising Apple Player of the Week was Marlon Byrd, and you can see why right here.

The Houston Astros make their way to Port St. Lucie today for a 1:10p game against the Mets, as Jeremy Hefner takes the mound for his second start in a row. After he’s through, Brandon Lyon, Darin Gorski, Jeurys Familia, Parnell, and Robert Carson are also expected to pitch.

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