Bobby Parnell could rejoin bullpen by mid-April
According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, while the Mets have set May 1 as a loose target date for Bobby Parnell to make his regular season return, Parnell is on track to return by the middle of April.
Parnell, who had Tommy John surgery shortly after Opening Day last season, was delayed about a week by a mild hamstring strain earlier during Spring Training but recently threw in a minor league game.
The plan all along has been for Parnell to begin the season on the disabled list, but he would miss just a week’s worth of games if he doesn’t hit any bumps in the road.
Parnell, 30, had a breakout season as the Mets’ closer in 2013, posting a 2.16 ERA and 1.00 WHIP while striking out 7.92 batters per 9 over 49 games (50 innings pitched).
Earlier in the offseason, Collins suggested that Parnell would return to the role of closer once he was ready for game action. However, Collins later said that if Jenrry Mejia is pitching well, he’ll remain as closer.
While Parnell’s fastball velocity sat between just 87 and 91 MPH during his recent minor league appearance, neither he or the club was concerned.
Parnell’s fastball averaged 95 MPH in 2013.
Parnell might be able to get away with a bit less velocity since his secondary stuff – especially his knuckle curve – improved in 2013, but his velocity will be something to monitor as he gets closer to his return.
When Parnell does come back, he’ll likely join a bullpen that consists of Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia, Vic Black, Rafael Montero, Sean Gilmartin, and Carlos Torres.
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