NEW YORK -- Ask about Jenrry Mejia, and Mets manager Terry Collins will be quick to point out the enormous potential. Before there were Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler, there was a 20-year-old pitcher from the Dominican Republic who was captivating the imagination of the Flushing faithful.
On Friday, Mejia will return to the Mets for the first time this season to start in New York's doubleheader against the Nationals.
"We've tried to let him know or wanted him to understand -- what he's hearing today about Wheeler, about Harvey was all about Jenrry Mejia three years ago," Collins said. "Sky's the limit, plus stuff, power arm -- all those things, and he's only 23 years old."
Collins said Mejia will be added on Friday, likely as the team's 26th eligible player for the doubleheader, and he will probably start the early game. Harvey will likely start the later game and Wheeler will start on Thursday.
Mejia made his debut for New York in 2010. The organization's former top prospect didn't blow opponents away in the same ilk that Harvey and even Wheeler have, but his 94-mph fastball that could touch 98 didn't do anything to squash the optimism either.
Then came the Tommy John surgery. Mejia pitched in just five games for Triple-A Buffalo in 2011 and didn't make it back to the Majors until he pitched in five games -- three starts -- last September.
"He's coming off some injury issues that hopefully are behind him now," Collins said.
Mejia's been effectively passed over since he was last considered a major piece of the Mets' future. Harvey and Wheeler look like long-term staples atop the rotation and Dillon Gee, Jon Niese and Jeremy Hefner provide solid depth behind them.
Still, Mejia has pitched well in the Minors. He's 2-0 with a 0.82 ERA in his first two starts with Double-A Binghamton. He's on his way back to the Majors, "because Sandy [Alderson] said he's the choice," Collins said.
But the manager's also given his newest starter a message: Take this chance to show New York that he still has what made scouts salivate over him just a few years ago.
"Don't write yourself off because you've got some arm issues," Collins said. "Get yourself ready, work on your command, work on your secondary pitches and when you get your chance, which is going to be Friday, do something with it.
"Go up here and show us you belong here and that you should stay here."
Chris Iseman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. David Wilson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.