Mets ready to take look at Familia as a starter

Mets ready to take look at Familia as a starter

ATLANTA -- The Mets are intrigued by Jeurys Familia as a reliever. They're intrigued by Familia as a starter, too.

Simply put, the Mets want to see their prized rookie pitch as much as possible, which is why he will make his Major League starting debut Monday in Miami.

"I want to see him start," manager Terry Collins said of Familia, who has posted an 8.64 ERA in seven relief appearances. "I really like what I've seen out of the bullpen. I just think to cross all the t's and dot the i's, I need to see him start."

Because Familia struggled as a starting pitcher at Triple-A Buffalo this season, his future is as clouded as that of any Mets prospect. Collins admitted that Familia is not as far along in his development as Jenrry Mejia, another starter-turned-reliever-turned-starter who began this season almost universally ranked behind Familia on the organization's prospect hierarchy.

But the Mets are still intrigued enough by Familia's potential to want to see him as a starter; to succeed in that role, they know, Familia will need to develop a usable changeup to supplement his fastball and breaking ball. The right-hander will pitch in relief this winter for Gigantes in the Dominican League, though that will have no bearing on how the Mets view him come spring.

"I want to see how he approaches hitters," Collins said of Monday's start in particular. "I want to see length. Instead of just 20 pitches or 25 pitches, I want to see how he handles going out there for two or three innings."