NEW YORK -- Lost in Jose Valverde's on-field gyrations Friday night was the simple fact that Valverde, in his first opportunity as the Mets' closer, converted the save.
Valverde impressed the organization all spring with his clubhouse leadership, working closely with younger Latin pitchers such as Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia and Gonzalez Germen. But his role took on more tangible importance earlier this week, when regular closer Bobby Parnell learned that he had partially torn the MCL in his right elbow.
As a result, Valverde will close for the Mets for at least the next six weeks.
So far, he's 1-for-1.
"He's been very impressive," manager Terry Collins said Saturday morning after the Mets' 4-3 win. "He really commands some respect from the younger pitchers, especially the Latin pitchers. He's a true leader. He's very open with stuff. Tremendous work ethic. He was here at 7 o'clock getting ready for a game, even after last night."