NEW YORK -- Mets manager Terry Collins said Saturday that if Jeurys Familia will get a start this season, it will come against Miami in the final series early next month.
Collins has used September as a tryout for spots in next season's bullpen -- with the exception of closer Frank Francisco, no spots are guaranteed. Transitioning Minor League starters into relievers is part of that plan, and Familia, Jenrry Mejia and Collin McHugh -- all September callups -- are all in the running.
The problem has been finding available spots. Collins said the main priority is to get Major League experience, whether or not that comes in a relief role. As such, McHugh has made three starts and Mejia one, but the clock is ticking to get Familia on the mound.
"We've got a lot of arms in the bullpen, and a lot of arms we want to see," Collins said. "We're looking down the road at the big picture of what's going to happen next year, so the more we get to see Elvin Ramirez, Familia or Mejia, the better judgment we're going to have when it comes to decision making time next year."
Familia last pitched on Thursday, allowing five runs on three hits in the ninth inning of what would eventually be a 16-1 loss to the Phillies. After starter Jeremy Hefner failed to record an out, Collins saw it only as an opportunity to get callups experience, and as a result used nine relievers.
"Here's an opportunity to get a bunch of guys in here and see how they do," Collins said. Of the nine relievers used on Thursday, only one was on New York's Opening Day roster.
"Get them on the mound, let them face hitters because eventually I want to get Familia in a game when it's crunch time, not 9-1. I don't like to use that many pitchers, but there's nothing wrong in a game like that to make sure everybody gets enough work to stay ready."