Jenrry Mejia (0-0, 4.50) has approximately 85 pitches to show Mets manager Terry Collins and the rest of the organization that he deserves a chance to be a starter.
“It depends on how well is he getting hit,” Collins said. “If they’re hitting him hard, he may not get to 85. If he’s not making pitches, I’m just not going to just leave him out there to get himself killed.”
Collins said that Mejia had thrown 100 pitches in one minor league game this summer. That is not what should be expected in the 22-year-old right-hander’s first start since Sept. 15, 2010 against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citi Field. “He’s pitched into the sixth inning several times. That’s what we’re hoping he can do tonight.”
Mejia pitched 2 1-3 innings against the Pirates that day, allowing an unearned run, no hits and two walks. He left the game in the third inning with a rhomboid strain of the right shoulder and never took the mound again that season. He underwent successful Tommy John surgery on May 16, 2011.
“You got to be excited about having him back out there after being hurt,” Collins said.
Mejia started 10 games for Triple-A Buffalo (International League) before being recalled on September 4, 2012. He went 2-3 with a 2.74 ERA.
Collins doesn’t expect Mejia to go any less than full speed, and really doesn’t want him to.
“With his delivery, if he pulls back on it right now, he’d be just like 500 guys in this league, 92 m.p.h. two-seamers,” Collins said. “They’re everywhere. What he’s got is something special. He can throw 96, 97 and have the ball cut. You don’t find those guys very much.”
If it’s any reassurance to Mejia, Collins said that he is in the rotation for the rest of the season.
“I know he’s worked on a sinker,” he said. “I want to see what that looks like. Last time I saw him pitch, he was pretty much a two-pitch guy with a four-seam fastball and a curve ball or slider, whatever he wants to call it. He’s work hard on his off-speed stuff and the two-seamer.”