Familia to Continue Pitching in Winter Ball Down in the Dominican

jeurys familiaIt’s been a long road back to the major leagues for Jeurys Familia this season. He last appeared with the Mets in the bigs on May 8th, then underwent surgery on June 5th to clean out a bone spur and loose bodies in his pitching elbow. While he was working to get himself back into shape, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reported there was no expectation for Familia to make it back to the bullpen¬† this season. However, he continued to feel good through his rehab assignment, most recently helping the Savannah Sand Gnats capture their first SAL Title since 1996.

Yesterday, Familia’s rehab finally came to an end; the Mets activated him off the disabled list in time for their doubleheader against the Miami Marlins. Terry Collins planned on not using the right-hander out of the ‘pen last night, but it’s definitely great to see Familia get some time in the majors over these last two weeks before winter comes.

Rubin also reported Familia plans to play winter ball this off-season in the Dominican Republic for Indios del Cibao. This is a solid move; he knows he has a chance to be an important piece to a young and hard-throwing bullpen for the Mets in 2013. Between the majors and minors this season, Familia has only racked up 19.1 innings pitched.

That’s obviously the lowest workload of his professional career, but it’s the first time he hasn’t reached 100 innings of work since he threw 51.2 innings for the GCL Mets in 2008. He was also coming off a 2012 season where he put up a career-high in innings pitched between Triple-A and the majors (149.1 IP).

It would have been a huge bummer for him to work himself back into pitching shape all summer, only to get a few innings of work before the book closed on this season. Playing winter ball will allow him to continue strengthening his arm. Hopefully, he’ll hit the ground running in spring training next February.

As Satish R. said yesterday, he could be a crucial part of the bullpen with Bobby Parnell (pending his health after surgery) and Vic Black. Three young, hard-throwing right-handed relievers are something the Mets haven’t had in the back of their big league bullpen in quite some time, and it will be exciting to see how these guys continue to develop.

To get the most comprehensive coverage of the Mets minor league system on the web, pay a visit to MetsMinors.net!