Vic Black was expected to be one of the late-inning bullpen options for the Mets from Opening Day on in 2014, but was done in by his lack of command toward the end of spring training. Instead of heading north with the Mets, Black veered west – bound for Triple-A Las Vegas.
Sep 24, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Vic Black throws against the Cincinnati Reds during the ninth inning at Great American Ball Park. The Mets won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
While Black hasn’t completely put his control issues behind him, he has yet to allow a run for Triple-A Las Vegas.
In 7.1 innings spanning six appearances, Black has held the opposition scoreless while allowing just three hits. He has walked seven and struck out eight.
During his appearance Monday night, Black tossed a perfect inning while striking out two.
Seven walks in 7.1 innings is still too much, but part of that may be due to the tough conditions of the Pacific Coast League and Cashman Field in Las Vegas in particular.
Aside from the ball carrying well and the infields being quicker (resulting in ground outs turning into hits), it’s difficult for pitchers to get a feel for their pitches.
If Black can build off his walk-free performance of Monday night and continue to cut his walks down (while keeping the opposition scoreless), his return to the big leagues should be relatively soon.
When Black does return, the most logical move would be for the Mets to designate Jose Valverde for assignment. However, whether or not they’ll make the proper move and jettison Valverde remains to be seen.