Parnell started the "bullpen game" and allowed just two hits while striking out two of the 10 batters he faced over his three innings of work. Assuming Parnell won't pitch in either of the Mets' two Grapefruit League games against the Yankees, he will finish the spring without having allowed a run. In all, Parnell allowed seven hits and two walks while striking out eight over 12 1/3 innings.
The right-hander was scheduled to throw 40 pitches Monday -- he needed three full innings to get to 39 -- to help him acclimate to a more versatile role in the bullpen. Parnell struggled as a starter in 2009 and didn't quite take to the closer position last season, but he is happy with his current role in the Mets' relief corps.
"We asked him to do a lot of things last year," manager Terry Collins said. "At the end, obviously with his stuff, we think he's got a future as a closer, so we put him in that role [last year] to get a taste of it. At times, he had a tough time. At other times, he pitched very, very well. He's come into this Spring Training and has been throwing the ball great."
"I feel like obviously [Frank Francisco's] got the ninth. [Manny] Acosta or [Jon] Rauch has probably got the eighth. Maybe the seventh or somewhere around there, but just wherever they call," Parnell added. "When we get there, I'll just start pitching. Wherever they call me, they call me."
Known for hitting triple digits with his four-seam fastball, Parnell has been working in more two-seamers this spring in an effort to keep the ball down in the strike zone. He said he hasn't been worrying about his velocity, but he does believe he's getting stronger and could "let it go" if he wanted to. That two-seamer was working especially well for Parnell on Monday, and it helped him close out a strong spring with another convincing performance.
"He's been very impressive," Collins said. "I think he came in to show everybody he's a good pitcher."