"He was in that role that he was where he's had to go out there a lot," Collins said. "There's no question we probably used him more than maybe we should have, but we also wouldn't be here without him."
Left-hander Garrett Olson joined the Mets from Triple-A Buffalo on Tuesday afternoon. Reliever Elvin Ramirez was optioned to Buffalo, and Dillon Gee -- who underwent surgery to replace a portion of a damaged artery in his right shoulder on July 13 -- was placed on the 60-day disabled list to clear a spot for Olson on the Mets' 40-man roster.
"You head into the Atlanta series [on Friday] with all of those left-handed hitters they have, you better have some help for Josh," Collins said. "That's why he's here."
Before the arrival of fellow left-hander Josh Edgin in early July, Byrdak was the only southpaw in the Mets' bullpen, and as a result his workload as a specialist increased. Edgin has provided a viable second left-handed option out of the 'pen -- he hasn't surrendered a run in nine consecutive appearances -- but Byrdak's spiked workload took its toll.
"Injuries are caused by overuse," Collins said. "I've had too many doctors say, 'When they break, they're going to break.' There's not much you can really do about it.
"He's done nothing in the last two years except take the baseball and gotten big outs for us. I just hope he comes out of it OK and can resume pitching."
Collins admitted that even in Spring Training he was searching for a second left-hander to add to his bullpen, but stressed that a viable, effective option was simply unavailable.
"It's one thing to have two left-handers in the bullpen, but if that other second lefty down there can't get left-handed hitters out, he doesn't do you any good," Collins said."
"To me, it's about good stuff in the bullpen. That's what gets people out, whether your left- or right-handed. Tim was that guy, our choice, and we had to ride it."
Olson served as both a starter and reliever for Buffalo, his most recent outing coming on Thursday as a starter. He delivered seven innings of one-run ball against Syracuse, scattering just two hits and striking out seven.
Ideally, Collins said that Edgin will serve primarily as a left-handed specialist, while Olson, who logged nearly 109 innings with Buffalo this season, will face more hitters at a time.