Tim Byrdak has appeared in each of the past five Mets games. And while he has been a savior, including stranding an inherited runner at third base in the eighth inning in three of four games of the trip, he also is on pace for 96 appearances.
New York Mets
His 19 relief appearances lead the majors. Lefty batters are 2-for-18 with 10 strikeouts and one walk against Byrdak this season.
The Mets' franchise record for appearances is owned by Pedro Feliciano, who set it three straight seasons -- with 86 with 2008, 88 in 2009 and 92 in 2010. Of course, Feliciano has not pitched since because of arm difficulty, despite signing a two-year, $8 million deal with the Yankees.
So can Byrdak continue to pitch at this rate?
Yes, he conceivably could. But he probably will not, pitching coach Dan Warthen said.
Warthen said the Mets will look to use right-hander Ramon Ramirez in some of the situations in which Byrdak has been summoned going forward.
"The good thing is Tim is not spending a lot of pitches," Warthen added.
In fact, Byrdak has thrown only 156 pitches, an economical average of 8.2 per appearance.
Of course, Byrdak could use help from a second lefty in the bullpen, just as Feliciano could have used the assistance during his Mets years. But the Mets are unlikely to have a second southpaw added to the relief corps anytime soon. Prospect Josh Edgin, the best candidate, likely will spend much of the season in Triple-A. He has allowed 14 hits and six walks in 8 1/3 innings since a promotion from Double-A Binghamton to Triple-A Buffalo and needs more development time.
"Unless we go get [Cole] Hamels because they're having a fire sale," Warthen quipped, alluding to the Phillies' early season struggles. "Or [Antonio] Bastardo."
• Terry Collins said he originally intended to start Rob Johnson behind the plate Saturday, but Warthen preferred pairing R.A. Dickey with Mike Nickeas, since they are well acquainted. Johnson actually caught Dickey with Seattle.
• Nickeas said he spoke with Josh Thole, who reported improvement with his concussion symptoms. Thole is now able to go outdoors.
• Collins said he was enthused by Ronny Cedeno's approach Friday, in his first game back from the DL. Cedeno walked twice. He has been a free swinger in his career, but the Mets have impressed upon him to take pitches.