MILWAUKEE -- When he takes the mound Saturday at Miller Park, it will be exactly two years since the date of Jenrry Mejia's last Major League start.
While he has pitched in relief since then, Mejia will be the Mets' starting pitcher for the first time since Sept. 15, 2010. Mejia said he was more excited than nervous about his first big league start since having Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.
"I won't be nervous now, because I did it before," Mejia said. "If this was my first time here, I'm going to be nervous. ... Just get out there and throw my pitches."
Since his last Mets start, Mejia has pitched in 35 games over the last two years at three Minor League levels. He pitched in 26 games for Triple-A Buffalo this season, including 10 starts, where he went 3-4 with a 3.54 ERA.
While the next three weeks will not be enough time to truly evaluate Mejia, the 22-year-old right-hander said he hopes to show that he belongs as a starter. In three starts at the end of the 2010 season, Mejia gave up 10 earned runs on 17 hits and five walks over 11 1/3 innings.
But even after missing so much time, Mejia believes he is a better pitcher now than he was then.
"It's different now because I have a little bit more control of my pitches," Mejia said. "Before, I threw like, 'Strike, strike.' But now, I'm thinking about, 'Where am I throwing it -- inside, outside?'"
Mets manager Terry Collins said he was eager to see Mejia start again.
One of the biggest things Collins and the Mets will look at in evaluating Mejia is whether he can consistently throw three pitches for strikes. Collins said he hoped to make his own judgments on Mejia rather than rely on what others have seen this year in his Minor League outings.
"I saw him two years ago and he was pretty stinkin' good," Collins said. "It was electric stuff for sure."