Mets news: Black, Parnell take another step forward

By Danny Abriano

Vic Black and Bobby Parnell took steps forward during their rehab assignments with Double-A Binghamton on Tuesday, and Black in particular could be ready for a return to the Mets.

For Black, who hasn’t yet appeared in a game this season for the Mets due to shoulder fatigue and a herniated disk, his scoreless appearance on Tuesday was the first time this season he’s pitched back-to-back games.

Black’s fastball ranged between 90 and 93 MPH, touching 94 MPH on Monday, and was mostly between 92 and 93 MPH on Tuesday.

After his appearance, Black told Lynn Worthy of the Press and Sun-Bulletin that he is ready to return to the Mets.

"I think I’m ready. I believe I am. It’s up to them. That’s just how this whole process goes. You can be knocking on the door, but if it’s not time to open it then they’re going to take their time and make sure everything is okay."

Parnell, still recovering from the Tommy John surgery he had last April, saw an uptick in his velocity during his scoreless appearance on Tuesday, with his fastest pitch clocked at 97 MPH.

Parnell has yet to appear in back-to-back games.


Pitching in back-to-back games was the last hurdle Black needed to cross, and with the Mets off on Thursday, it wouldn’t be surprised to see Black activated prior to Friday’s game.

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However, it’s not clear if the Mets want Black to pitch for Triple-A Las Vegas first. If they do, Black could simply meet the team in San Diego when they open a series there on Monday.

The Mets’ bullpen has been better than expected while operating without Black, Parnell, Jerry Blevins, Jenrry Mejia, and Buddy Carlyle, but they can certainly benefit from the return of Black.

Familia has been fantastic at the end of games, and the emergence of Robles as a legitimate late-inning weapon has helped offset the absence of Black, Parnell, and Mejia. If the Mets can add Black and Parnell to the late-inning mix, it’ll make them that much stronger.

Last season for the Mets, Black’s average fastball velocity was 95.6 MPH, meaning he still has some work to do before it can be proclaimed that he’s ‘back.’

However, the fact that Black noted he has backed off velocity-wise over his last few outings while focusing on his mechanics can’t be lost here. Nor should the fact that the last pitch of Black’s outing on Monday was 94 MPH – just a tick or so below where he sat in 2014. On Tuesday, Black reportedly topped out at 93 MPH, so he’s just about there.

When Black does return, it will likely be lefty reliever Jack Leathersich who’s sent back to the minors to make room.

As far as who goes when Parnell returns, it would seem that Erik Goeddel is the likely odd-man out.