PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Francisco Rodriguez and Bobby Parnell are locks for the bullpen -- that much has been certain for some time. But three other relievers may not be far behind.
Mets manager Terry Collins said Wednesday that D.J. Carrasco, Taylor Buchholz and Tim Byrdak are all front-runners to make the team, despite a wide-open bullpen competition. That may be no surprise for Carrasco and Buchholz, who both entered camp on big league contracts. But Byrdak -- who held lefties to a .213 average in 64 games for the Astros last season -- is here on a Minor League deal and figured to compete with fellow lefties Taylor Tankersley, Mike O'Connor and Oliver Perez on even ground.
"That battle for those left-handed jobs is going to be interesting," Collins said.
Though Carrasco and Perez have asked Collins to consider them as starting pitchers, both are more likely to make the team as relievers. Carrasco, Perez, Dillon Gee and Jenrry Mejia will all battle front-runners Chris Young and Chris Capuano for the two vacant spots in Collins' rotation.