Mejia Makes First Start, Tejada Out, Byrd’s The Word

An article by posted on February 26, 2013

jenrry mejia

Jenrry Mejia gets the ball this afternoon against Miami. As of now, Mejia will be used as a starter, but there are those in the organization who believe he’s better suited for the bullpen.

Mejia prefers to start and has performed better in that role. Maybe it is because he has time to prepare for his assignment, maybe because he has more time to warm up, maybe it is an ego thing. Whatever it is, his 2.75 ERA as a starter compared to 5.48 ERA in relief, can’t be disputed.Why can’t they make a decision with this guy?

The Mets screwed up with Mejia in 2010, when managing for his job, Jerry Manuel rushed an unproven Mejia to the Opening Day roster as a reliever because they didn’t have a quality bullpen. Manuel was clearly thinking in the short term rather than what was in the best interest of Mejia, and the Mets, in the long term.

Closer, set-up reliever, situational pitcher; the Mets bounced him around. Eventually they optioned him out and he started in the minors. Mejia was not prepared for the up-and-down work in the bullpen, and then stretching him out in midseason, he injured his arm and underwent surgery. He did not pitch with the Mets in 2011.

Once a highly touted prospect, and the subject of trade calls by other teams, Mejia’s value plummeted. The reasons were three-fold: 1) his performance; 2) the arm injury; and 3) if the Mets had no confidence in him, then why would another team?

Mejia was a prime example of rushing a pitcher, and looking at him should give the Mets pause if they even think about putting Zack Wheeler on the Opening Day roster. Reportedly, it will be Mejia or Jeremy Hefner, who will open the season in the major leagues if Johan Santana goes on the disabled list. Currently, the Mets are considering the foolish decision of trying to squeeze in a full spring training in a little over two weeks to prepare Santana for Opening Day.

That will be a decision that will boomerang on them in a bad way. Mejia is not the first pitcher the Mets rushed. They did the same with No. 1 pick Mike Pelfrey, who clearly wasn’t ready in terms of his demeanor, poise and control of his secondary pitches. They pushed Pelfrey because they were thin in the rotation. He struggled, was eventually injured and now is with Minnesota.

BYRD IS THE WORD: Marlon Byrd and Collin Cowgill are currently the frontrunners for the two right-handed hitting outfield spots, but don’t count out Zach Lutz and Jamie Hoffmann could change that with solid spring showings.

DOUBLE DEKKER: Adam Rubin with a nice quip from one American League scout who told him Matt den Dekker is a “Gold Glove-caliber” center fielder. But the same scout wondered if den Dekker would have enough plate discipline and make enough contact to be an everyday major leaguer.

METS NOTEBOOK: Scott AtchisonJeurys FamiliaCory MazzoniHansel Robles and Carlos Torres are also scheduled to pitch. … Ruben Tejada did not play last night because of a strain in his right quadriceps and will not play today against the Marlins. Tejada sustained the same injury last season and missed six weeks. … Lucas Duda will work in the batting cage today to solve his mechanical flaws that lead to six strikeouts in seven at-bats.

Here is your Mets Lineup for this afternoon against the Miami Marlins at 1:10 PM:

  1. Jordany Valdespin, 2B
  2. Kirk Nieuwenhuis, CF
  3. Justin Turner, DH
  4. Mike Baxter, RF
  5. Zach Lutz, 1B
  6. Brian Bixler, 3B
  7. Landon Powell, C
  8. Juan Lagares, LF
  9. Omar Quintanilla, SS

About the Author ()

I am an active member of the BBWAA and have covered Major League Baseball in several capacities for over 20 years, including ten in New York working the Mets' and Yankees' beat. I covered the Baltimore Orioles for eight years and the Cleveland Indians before that. Today I am a freelance writer and social director for several media outlets and the Senior Editor for MetsmerizedOnline.com.

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