NEW YORK -- Though admittedly a little early, Mets manager Terry Collins has begun to consider pitching candidates to join the team as September callups, and Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia -- both with Triple-A Buffalo -- top the list of names.
Mejia has served as a starter and reliever with Buffalo this season, but in five games as a starter boasts a 1.16 ERA. In his most recent start on Monday, the right-hander tossed 4 1/3 scoreless innings and scattered just three hits.
"He threw the ball very, very well the other night," Collins said. "If he continues that through four more starts until September, he's got to certainly be looked at as a candidate, depending on how he feels."
Mejia has a 5.48 ERA in 16 relief appearances for Buffalo, but despite the stark difference in figures, Collins said coming out of the bullpen may be his only option at the Major League level. With Matt Harvey occupying a spot in the rotation -- and top prospect Zack Wheeler potentially set to join him next season -- pitching vacancies on the Mets' roster will likely be in the 'pen in 2013.
"As we've told the people in the Minor Leagues, right now we're looking for that guy who can come up and slam the door, that's in the bullpen," Collins said. "Especially looking at what we're going to have next year, at least at this particular moment, what we're looking at starting pitching next year, there may not be a spot. If he's going to want to be on this team, it might have to be as a reliever."
Collins labeled Mejia as a "max effort" player, and cited that a reason for why he'd be better suited for a relief role. But his numbers as a starter are hard to ignore.
"The thought process for a lot of people was that he's such a max effort guy, there's no way he's going to be able to start he's going to have to pitch out of the bullpen," Collins said. "But so far the most success he's had has been as a starter, so we will certainly take a look."
Collins said that Familia would likely fill a similar role if called up in September -- the right-hander would likely see action out of the 'pen. Familia has had several brilliant starts for Buffalo, but has been unable to string them together. In 24 starts, he has a 4.98 ERA.