LAKELAND, Fla. -- It was only the sixth inning. Bobby Parnell convinced himself it was the ninth.
That's how the Mets' closer, at least while Frank Francisco is sidelined by elbow problems, is conditioning himself this spring for his new role once the regular season starts.
"Even now, I imagine that it's a tie ballgame or a one-run ballgame and try to put myself in that situation as much as possible mentally, even if it's not actually that way," he explained. "I just want to attack hitters, not give away at-bats. Not give up extra baserunners, so just go after them as much as I can."
In what ended up as a 3-2 loss to the Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium on Friday, Parnell pitched a 1-2-3 inning.
"I love his demeanor on the mound," said manager Terry Collins. "He goes after hitters like he knows he's going to get them out. Doesn't get caught up if he gives up a hit. And we know he's still got the good arm if he needs to reach back for something extra. I like what he's doing early in the count, getting ahead and making the hitters chase the pitches he wants them to hit."
Back at Tradition Field against the Astros on Saturday, Parnell will work back-to-back days for the first time this spring.
"I guess it's kind of a mild test to see where you're at, and I feel good," he said. "I've been bouncing back pretty regularly on throwing the next day, so I'm not really worried. I'm just going to go out and treat it as another day."
Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.