NEW YORK -- Mets closer Bobby Parnell has been throwing since the start of January, according to general manager Sandy Alderson, keeping him on track to be ready for Spring Training.
Parnell flew to Los Angeles last week for a follow-up examination by Dr. Robert Watkins, who replaced a herniated disk in his neck last September. The right-hander lost approximately 30 pounds following the surgery, prompting concerns from manager Terry Collins.
But examinations in New York City last month and more recently in California revealed that Parnell is back on track.
"Everything looks good," said Alderson. "No restrictions. His weight is back. His muscle tone is there. The surgery is progressing nicely, so we were very much reassured. But even assuming he's healthy, we still don't have much experience in that 'pen."
In his first full season as closer, Parnell converted 22 of his 26 save chances, with a 2.16 ERA. The Mets still hope to sign a veteran reliever to provide back-end insurance for their bullpen, and they are prepared to offer a Major League deal to do it. With roughly five weeks remaining in the offseason, more than three dozen such relievers remain unsigned.