PHILADELPHIA -- Throughout the past two months, Mets manager Terry Collins has stressed the importance of limiting reliever Josh Edgin's workload. Largely blaming himself for lefty specialist Tim Byrdak's season-ending shoulder injury, Collins is wary of the same fate befalling Edgin.
That, at least, is the theory; in practice, Collins is riding Edgin as hard as he did Byrdak earlier this year. Since Edgin made his big league debut on July 13, the lefty specialist has appeared in 24 games, one fewer than league leader Aroldis Chapman. Entering Thursday's play, Edgin had appeared in eight of the Mets' last 11 games, firing scoreless outing after scoreless outing.
"We manage it by making sure that if he pitches two or three days in a row, it's a limited number of guys that he faces," Collins said, referring to the fact that Edgin has faced two or fewer batters in four of his last six outings.
Collins says he relies on hard information from bullpen coach Ricky Bones, who provides him with a daily update of not only how many appearances each of his relievers have made, but how many times they warm up during games. If a reliever begins warming three times in a day, Collins considers it an appearance whether he actually pitches in the game or not.
But precautions aside, Edgin has entered uncharted territory. The 25-year-old left set a career high in appearances last year with 49, more than doubling his workload of the year before. This season, he is already at 65 appearances split between Triple-A and the big leagues, which would rank second in the Majors if they all came at that level.
The Mets do have another left-handed option in Robert Carson, who has reeled off five consecutive scoreless outings. But because Edgin has a longer track record of big league success, the Mets continue trotting him out to the mound.
It is a difficult situation to gauge, especially set against the backdrop of strict innings limits across baseball for young starting pitchers -- the Mets' Matt Harvey included. But Collins said that because Edgin has thrown a relatively low number of innings, his overall number of appearances is not quite so important.
"It's not like this guy is a seven- or eight-year veteran where he's had 60 or 70 appearances a year," the manager said. "This guy has not pitched that much in his career. He's big. He's strong. He'll be fine, but we'll manage it as we go along."