NEW YORK -- There was a time earlier in the season when the Mets tried to tinker with Pedro Feliciano's role, using the left-handed reliever for longer stretches and exposing him to more right-handed hitters. As a result, Feliciano began appearing in fewer games.
Realizing their mistake, though, the Mets quickly shifted Feliciano back to his old job as a lefty specialist. He began facing fewer batters and, as a result, appearing in more games. And he rapidly began approaching his own franchise record of 88 appearances.
"As soon as I pitched in 80 games and I realized that I could break my record, I told them to push me there," Feliciano said of Mets manager Jerry Manuel and pitching coach Dan Warthen. "I told them to push me to break my record."
Tuesday, Feliciano did so, appearing in his 89th game. So Manuel approached him to ask how he felt.
"He asked me if I wanted one more game," Feliciano said. "I told him I want six more games."
Feliciano probably won't win that argument. But the Mets would like to see him as often as possible, knowing there's a chance this may be their last look at him in a Mets uniform. Feliciano, the longest-tenured Met, is up for free agency after the season and can't be sure if he'll be back.
A quiet and steady contributor over the last eight-plus seasons, Feliciano has already made a small fortune for a lefty specialist, inking a $2.9 million contract prior to this season. Though he is 34 now, he is also coming off another typical campaign, posting a 2.79 ERA with 56 strikeouts in 61 1/3 innings and holding left-handed hitters to a .198 average.
Pitchers with his skill set tend to age slowly. So although New York is his first choice -- "This is my home," Feliciano said -- he may find himself in high demand on the open market.
"I don't know," Feliciano said. "I have to wait and see what happens."