Scott Atchison & Jeurys Familia Close to Returning

By Danny Abriano

According to general manager Sandy Alderson, rehabbing Scott Atchison is one more appearance away from being cleared to return to the Mets.  Alderson told Adam Rubinthat Atchison, who was placed on the DL a few weeks ago after pain in his arm caused numbness in his fingers, will make one more rehab appearance for St. Lucie before being activated by the Mets.

Apr 23, 2013; Flushing, NY,USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Jeurys Familia (27) pitches during the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field. Dodgers won 7-2. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Atchison chose to pitch through pain last season rather than receive Tommy John surgery, which was the recommended route.  Because of the precarious state of his elbow, there will always be lingering health concerns as far as he’s concerned.  Nothing is set in stone, but the most logical candidate to be sent down when Atchison is activated is Robert Carson.

Jeurys Familia, who landed on the disabled list with biceps tendinitis right around the time Atchison was injured, is set to move from St. Lucie to AAA Las Vegas to continue rehabbing.  Unlike Atchison, there’s no assurance that Familia will return to the big leagues once he’s healthy.  Said Alderson:

"Obviously Familia is somebody we’re counting on long term. We’ll just have to decide what’s best for that long-term development — whether he pitches here (the majors) or he pitches there (AAA Las Vegas) for a while. We’ll see."

Assuming Atchison is activated at the expense of Robert Carson, that would leave Bobby Parnell, Brandon Lyon, Scott Rice, LaTroy Hawkins, Collin McHugh, and Greg Burke with him in the bullpen.

I’m not sure what Alderson’s line of thinking is, but aside from Parnell, Familia is the highest upside bullpen arm the Mets currently have.  With the team flailing along, Familia should be with the big club once he’s healthy.  The Mets need to decide whether Familia can be counted on to be part of the solution in 2014 and beyond,  and that analysis should be taking place at the big league level.

Once Familia is ready to return, a spot needs to be cleared for him.  Sending him to Las Vegas would be a waste.

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