KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Over the past four weeks, Mets reliever Vic Black went from roster lock to roster casualty.
The Mets on Wednesday optioned Black to Minor League camp after the right-hander struggled with his command all spring. Though Black reported to camp in February riding the wave of his strong 2013 stretch run, 10 walks in 9 1/3 Grapefruit League innings rapidly diminished his status. Black finished the spring with a 5.79 ERA in 10 appearances.
"It just was a bad spring," Black said. "They're trying to put a team together that's going to give them the best possibility to win, and right now, they don't have that with me, just because of the results I was giving, and the command issues and the walks and stuff like that. I'm going to go to [Triple-A] Las Vegas and get everything clicking again, which is what I've done each year after spring.
"It's new being sent down when I had the expectations to be on the team, but that's part of it. Now I just have to go and compete again."
In Black's eyes, his shortcomings were more mental than anything, considering the 3.46 ERA he posted after a mid-August trade from Pittsburgh to New York last season. Black said he struggled in each of his past two springs before righting himself once the regular seasons began.
"I didn't see it coming, but I also couldn't expect anything different, really," Black said of his demotion. "What I did was struggle all spring, and that's not what they're trying to put together on the team right now. Especially starting off, you're trying to get hot out of the gate, and I didn't give them the best opportunity for what they were hoping. I know they were disappointed, as am I, which is part of it. But I'll be back."