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Black will be back as doubleheader's 26th man

Black will be back as doubleheader's 26th man

NEW YORK -- Vic Black is back -- almost.

The right-handed reliever will join the Mets on Sunday as the 26th man on the roster for the team's doubleheader with the D-backs, following Friday's rainout. It will be Black's second Major League stint with the Mets since coming to New York in a trade with Pittsburgh last August.

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Black struck out 12 and walked four while allowing five earned runs in 13 innings last September, a month that gave the organization a glimpse of a pitcher who is seeping in talent, but has struggled with command. Black, 26, has walked about one batter every other inning in six Minor League seasons.

Those struggles continued this spring with Triple-A Las Vegas, where a 1.55 WHIP accompanies Black's 1.45 ERA. More batters have reached via walk (18) than base hit (12) in Black's 18 2/3 innings.

"He has not been getting hit, but the command has not been what you would like it to be in a guy you project to be the closer one day," said Mets manager Terry Collins. "So if we can get him to have better command of his stuff, he'll never see the Minor Leagues again."

Collins, who did not rule out the possibility of Black staying in the Majors beyond Sunday, raved about the reliever's arsenal of pitches. Last year, when he pitched in 18 Major League games for the Pirates and Mets, Black relied mostly on a fastball that averaged 96 mph and a curveball that dipped into the low 80s.

"It's all there," Collins said. "He's just got to get it in the zone."

Tim Healey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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