Mets stake 'pen with five hurlers

Mets stake 'pen with five hurlers

MILWAUKEE -- It will be a long time before the Mets win the National League East championship -- if they do. At least it may seem that way. Their games are apt to be longer now that the roster limit has been increased and their bullpen is a standing-room-only proposition.

The Mets unquestionably have lacked quality in their bullpen, particularly since Billy Wagner became unavailable. And now, to address that problem -- one day after they used five relievers to protect a four-run lead for three innings -- they have turned to quantity to get the job done.

The Mets added five pitchers to their roster Monday, and will add a sixth Tuesday. And only one of them, Jonathan Niese, will work as a starter.

Niese is slated to make his big league debut Tuesday night against the Brewers. The others will add experience, depth and who knows what to the pen. Right-handed reliever Carlos Muniz was recalled from Triple-A New Orleans for his sixth tour of big league duty this season.

And the club purchased the contracts of left-handed veteran Ricardo Rincon, right-handed Olympian Brandon Knight and right-handed rookie Bobby Parnell from the same affiliate. And when the season ends for the Double-A Binghamton Mets on Tuesday, the club will add veteran Al Reyes to the mix.

The Mets also reinstated Marlon Anderson from the disabled list, recalled second baseman Argenis Reyes and catcher Gustavo Molina and purchased the contract of shortstop Ramon Martinez.

The moves prompted the club to create room on its 40-player roster by shifting four players to the 60-day disabled list -- Trot Nixon, Matt Wise, Orlando Hernandez and Jason Vargas -- and by designating Willie Collazo for assignment. Ruddy Lugo will be designated Tuesday to create room for Al Reyes.

Niese, 21, will be the second of three left-handed starters the Mets will use against the Brewers this week -- a team that entered the series with the best record in the National League, 31-13, in games in which the opposing starter was a southpaw.

Rincon and Reyes, both 38, will afford a different kind of experience for a bullpen that has experienced so many problems of late. And Parnell, 23, could emerge as an important component even though his next appearance will be his first in the big leagues. With Wagner unavailable and Aaron Heilman struggling, Parnell may become the bullpen's best bet to produce a strikeout. He had 23 in 20 1/3 innings with New Orleans in five games, four of them starts. He struck out 91 in 127 2/3 innings in 24 Double-A starts before that.

Marty Noble is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.