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Mets hope extra lefty strengthens 'pen

Mets hope extra lefty strengthens 'pen

ST. LOUIS -- Casey Fossum has been the only left-hander in the bullpen before. He knows that it's not much fun.

So Fossum, who was added to the Mets' roster before Tuesday's series opener against the Cardinals, is glad to join the team and be able to help out Pedro Feliciano -- New York's only left-handed reliever through the team's first 12 games of the season.

"It's going to hopefully give him a little more rest," Fossum said. "I've been the lone lefty before, and you have to get up and throw quite a bit."

The Mets' bullpen entered Tuesday's game leading all of baseball with a 1.89 ERA, allowing no earned runs in eight of the 12 games to start the season. But adding a second left-hander to the bullpen in Fossum could help make the unit even stronger.

"I think we got away with the one lefty," said Mets manager Jerry Manuel. "We used him at the right times, but it's always a little more convenient to have another guy out there.

"It gives us a little more versatility, and the other thing is, if Feliciano is not on and he's your only lefty, you're kind of stuck. So I think to have that second lefty is a good thing for us, obviously if he throws strikes and does those types of things. When you are playing teams with left-handed power, you might need to get that out at different times in the game. With just Feliciano, you have to choose one time and think if that's the time that could be the most damaging."

Fossum was signed as a Minor League free agent in January, and he opened the season at Triple-A Buffalo. In two starts, he was 0-0 with an 0.82 ERA, striking out 12 in 11 innings before being called up.

"I was throwing the ball well down there," Fossum said. "I feel like I'm ready to come up here and continue what I was doing down there. It was just a matter of getting innings in and getting a feel for my breaking ball. I felt like I threw pretty well during camp, but I got down there and got even better and now I'm just glad to be here."

The journeyman has pitched for the Red Sox, Diamondbacks, Rays and Tigers during his 234-game Major League career, and he has a lifetime 40-53 record and a 5.47 ERA. He's started, closed and done everything in between.

So while he doesn't know exactly what his role will be, he knows he will be ready for whatever is asked.

"I've done a little bit of everything in the bullpen," Fossum said. "I have a pretty good resume of being able to do different things and adjusting on the fly. Whatever they want me to do, I'll be willing to do.

"I'm just ready to get the ball. I'm excited."

So are at least two others -- Manuel and Feliciano.

B.J. Rains is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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