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'Pen rested, but Putz switches roles

'Pen rested, but Putz switches roles

PITTSBURGH -- Because the Mets' game against the Pirates was rained out on Wednesday night, they will have a fully rested bullpen for the final game of what was to have been a four-game series.

But rested or not, the team will not have J.J. Putz in what had become his accustomed role as the eighth-inning setup man. Jerry Manuel said he intends to ease Putz back into that role -- the one the Mets had designed for him -- and until Putz is functional, Bobby Parnell will go in the eighth inning and Putz will be the seventh-inning pitcher.

Manuel told Putz as much during a brief meeting Wednesday. The manager said he hoped the change would be temporary, but also indicated that a strong showing by Parnell could keep him in the later role.

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"Hopefully this is a small, small window for [Putz] to get right," Manuel said. "This is not long-term."

Putz hardly seemed put off by the change of assignment. He said it could "eliminate stress." He referred to his role as "pitching in the sixth and seventh inning" and said he was used in that early setup role last season with the Mariners when he developed a mechanical flaw.

The current problem, he said, was mechanical. He and pitching coach Dan Warthen had detected a "glaring mechanical flaw that probably goes back to last year," Putz said.

"I think we're moving in the right direction," Putz said. "It's probably good to step back. We did something similar last year so I could clear my head. There's a big difference between pitching with a one-run lead in the eighth or ninth and what I'll be doing for a while."

Manuel spoke of the "mental anguish" Putz had suffered and noted, "We have to get him back to where he was in Seattle." The manager seemed to be making conflicting statements at times as he discussed the situation. Manuel also offered this: "To be a successful team, we need more than one closer."

Pitching matchup
NYM: RHP Mike Pelfrey (4-1, 3.88 ERA)
Pelfrey continued his run of strong performances, overcoming some personal demons against the Marlins by allowing one run on five hits in 7 2/3 innings Friday at Citi Field. The start was his longest this season and the first in which he surrendered fewer than two runs. Now he opposes the Pirates, who didn't score against him in his lone career start against them last August. Pelfrey pitched seven shutout innings en route to a 2-1 victory at PNC Park. Adam LaRoche had three hits in three at-bats in that game. Since Pelfrey's streak of 76 batters without a strikeout, he has struck out 17 batters in 27 2/3 innings.

PIT: RHP Ross Ohlendorf (5-5, 4.45 ERA)
Ohlendorf was unable to string together two successive solid starts. He lasted merely five-plus innings and allowed four runs in a loss to the Astros on May 29. He threw 97 pitches, his second-highest total this season, and his three walks tied for a season high. Ohlendorf has two appearances against the Mets in his career; both in relief last summer. He allowed 10 runs and eight hits in only 1 2/3 innings.

Tidbits
The Mets promoted two right-handers, Brad Holt and Jenrry Mejia from their most advanced Class A team, the St. Lucie Mets, to their Double-A Binghamton affiliate. Holt, selected 33rd in the First-Year Player Draft last year, had produced a 4-1 record and 3.05 ERA in eight starts with St. Lucie. Mejia had the same record and a 1.97 ERA in nine starts.

This date in Mets history -- June 4: The Mets scored an unearned run in the 15th inning to beat the Dodgers, 1-0, at Shea Stadium on this date in 1969. The Miracle Mets had a 9-5 record in 1-0 games. ... Jerry Koosman allowed five hits in a 1-0 victory against the Astros at Shea on June 4, 1975. The Mets split their two 1-0 games in '75. ... One day after he had gone berserk in the clubhouse following an 0-for-5 performance in which he left seven runners on base in a 2-1 home loss to the Cubs, Dave Kingman hit three home runs and drove in a then club-record eight runs in Los Angeles on this date in 1976. The Mets beat the Dodgers, 11-0, on a three-hitter by Tom Seaver.

A home run by Steve Yeager against Neil Allen in the seventh inning provided the decisive run in a 2-1 Mets loss to the Dodgers in L.A. on this date in 1983. The loss, Allen's seventh in nine decisions, moved the Mets closer to trading their closer. Eleven days later, Allen and Rick Ownbey were dealt to the Cardinals for Keith Hernandez.

After Dwight Gooden escaped a bases-loaded, none-out jam in the eighth inning, the Mets scored three times in the top of the ninth to beat Fernando Valenzuela and the Dodgers, 4-1, on June 4, 1985. The rally included Gooden's third single of the night. ... On this date in 1991, Hubie Brooks separated manager Bud Harrelson and David Cone, that night's pitcher, during a heated argument in the visitors' dugout in Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati. ... The eventual National League champion Mets were pounded, 15-5, by the Devil Rays on this date in 2000, one day after Al Leiter and three relievers beat the Rays in a 1-0 Mets victory.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• SNY

On radio
• WFAN 660, WADO 1280 (Español)

Up next
• Friday: Mets (Tim Redding, 0-2, 9.20) at Nationals (Shairon Martis, 5-1, 5.62), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Mets (John Maine, 5-3, 3.75) at Nationals (John Lannan, 2-5, 4.21), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Mets (Livan Hernandez, 4-1, 4.33)) at Nationals (Craig Stammen, 0-1, 5.71), 1:35 p.m. ET

Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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