Collin McHugh, who was also demoted to the minor league camp, made spot starts last year and could be in position again if something were to develop with Hefner.Mejia’s development this spring was hindered when he reported late because of a visa issue and was further delayed with the thyroid ailment. He is scheduled to open the season at Triple-A Las Vegas.
Pitchers start at two innings or 30 pitches and like to work up to seven innings and 100 pitches. There’s no way Mejia can build himself up to that with the time remaining in camp.
Mejia was on the travel squad this morning to Lakeland, where the Mets will play the Tigers again.
The Mets set back Mejia’s career when they rushed him to the majors as a reliever – there was no set relief role – then optioned him back to the minors as a starter at which time he injured his elbow and needed Tommy John surgery.
As for Hefner, in a piece Joe D wrote a few weeks ago, it looked as though the young righthander was up for the challenge:
“First and foremost, I want Johan to be healthy,” Hefner said. “He’s a leader of this team. If something happens and he’s not able to go, then obviously that would maybe fall on my shoulders. I’m going to prepare to go out and give it my best whenever my name’s called.”
Joe called Hefner one of the more underrated players on the pitching staff last season, “he did a decent job filling various roles for the Mets out of the bullpen and as a spot starter,” he said. “Hefner showed enough to warrant a long look this spring for a similar role as the sixth man in the rotation.”
Hefner has a 2.61 ERA in 10.1 innings pitched this spring with eight strikeouts and only one walk allowed, and batters are hitting just .189 against him.