PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- In the unlikely scenario that Tim Byrdak is not healthy enough to begin the regular season, Mets manager Terry Collins mentioned Garrett Olson first amongst a pack of left-handed relievers sitting behind Byrdak on the depth chart.
Technically, Olson is already competing with Chuck James, Daniel Herrera and Robert Carson for a job as a second lefty in New York's bullpen. But given the strong chance that two members of the right-handed trio of Bobby Parnell, D.J. Carrasco and Miguel Batista make the team, it is unlikely that the Mets will have room to carry multiple left-handed relievers on Opening Day.
Frank Francisco, Jon Rauch, Ramon Ramirez, Manny Acosta and Byrdak are all assured bullpen roles if healthy, leaving two open spots for everyone else.
Though no lefty has thrown enough innings to distinguish himself through the first week of exhibition games, Olson has allowed just one baserunner in two shutout innings. James, meanwhile, has given up one run in 1 2/3 innings, while Carson and Herrera have both missed time with injuries.
Collins also showered compliments on left-hander Josh Edgin, who is not technically in Major League camp, but has made two scoreless Grapefruit League appearances.
Byrdak, who signed a $1 million contract extension before last season ended, traveled to New York on Sunday for an examination of his stiff left knee. Collins said after Sunday's game that he still expects Byrdak to be ready for Opening Day.