CLEVELAND -- At 40 years old, LaTroy Hawkins has built up a fountain of wisdom since breaking into the big leagues nearly two decades ago.
Signed to a Minor League contract by the Mets during the offseason, Hawkins demonstrated during Spring Training that he was still capable of retiring batters. Across 62 appearances this season, the right-hander had a 3-2 record and 3.41 ERA entering Friday.
Mets manager Terry Collins said the reliever's positive influence extends far beyond what he does in games.
"It's been huge," Collins said. "He's one of the classic pro's pros. He knows how to get ready. He's willing to help, offers help. If you don't want it, he tips his hat and moves to the next guy. He does whatever it takes to help out down there."
In 60 2/3 innings, Hawkins had converted seven of 10 save opportunities entering Friday. He had 47 strikeouts against 10 walks, with a .275 opponents' average and a 1.24 WHIP.
The Mets, who entered Friday at 63-75, have moved past the idea of making the playoffs this season and are preparing for future years. Throughout the 2013 campaign, Hawkins has provided leadership qualities for the team's younger players. When New York asked him to pitch in the later innings, Hawkins did so willingly, despite that assignment not necessarily being what he hoped for.
"The young guys see that, that helps," Collins said. "It helps when you see a veteran just do his job."
Mark Emery is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.