PITTSBURGH -- Tim Byrdak has appeared in 26 of the Mets' first 43 games, a remarkable feat for any pitcher -- let alone one who nearly missed Opening Day after undergoing knee surgery.
The left-hander's early workload puts him on pace for 98 appearances, which would shatter Pedro Feliciano's franchise record and rank second in Major League history. Mike Marshall holds the all-time record with 106 appearances in 1974.
These may be uncharted waters for a pitcher who has never appeared in more than 76 games in a season, and yet manager Terry Collins has no plans to slow the pace.
"For one hitter, I think he can do it," Collins said.
Unlike last year, when Byrdak regularly faced two or three batters in an outing, the left-hander has transformed into the definition of a one-batter specialist. None of his last 12 appearances have lasted longer than one batter, with Byrdak retiring every one of them.
"He's done absolutely tremendous," Collins said. "He's bought into the job he's done. He really approaches it right, and he knows how to warm up. He's not a guy who wastes it down in the bullpen. That's why I think you can use him on a day-by-day basis, because he doesn't overthrow."