Mejia sticking around in 6-man rotation

July, 26, 2013
7/26/13
5:17
PM ET
WASHINGTON -- Jenrry Mejia, promoted as the 26th man for Friday's doubleheader, is not going anywhere after tossing seven scoreless innings against the Washington Nationals.

Terry Collins said Mejia would not be returning to the minors with the Mets needing to take the roster back to 25 players after the nightcap. In fact, Collins suggested the Mets were preparing to use a six-man rotation that includes Mejia.

That would help allow the Mets to keep in check the innings counts of Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler, permitting them to go deeper into the season before reaching their caps (estimated at 220 and 180 innings, respectively).

"I haven't seen him obviously that good in a long time," Collins said about Mejia. "The command of his stuff was very, very good -- his location. I thought he pitched an outstanding game. His best changeup. I didn't know he had one. He used it and used it effectively. He pitched a great game."

Mejia once was the top pitching prospect in the organization. But his star had faded with the arrivals of Harvey and Wheeler as well as Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero. At the same time, Mejia was struggling to stay healthy. He underwent Tommy John surgery on May 16, 2011. He also spent nearly four months of this season on the disabled list with elbow discomfort. Mejia said he will need surgery after the season to remove bone spurs.

"Certainly it's easy to fall back in the pack," Collins said. "He was the rage in 2010. Everybody thought the sky's the limit. And then the injuries have set him way back. I give our rehab coordinator, Jon Debus, tremendous credit. When [Mejia] was rehabbing, [Debus] said, 'There's no reason why your name shouldn't be in the hat. At one time, you were the guy. You were the big dog. Now they're talking Wheeler, Harvey.' And he said, 'There's no reason why your name shouldn't be in the mix.' And I think today he showed you it should be in the mix."

Mejia said he had a leg cramp beginning in the fifth inning, but it was no cause for alarm.

He again chuckled that everybody calls his signature pitch a cutter, because he grips it like a regular four-seam fastball.

"Everybody says it's a cutter, but I say it's my fastball," Mejia said. "My No. 1 fastball. I never throw a cutter. But they say it's a cutter. All right, it's a cutter."

As for making his first major league appearance since September, Mejia added: "That means a lot. When I was here the first day that I pitched in September last year, I threw [as] a reliever. But now I come here and my first pitch is like a starter. And I feel I can be a starter now."
Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Daniel Murphy
BA HR RBI R
.299 9 54 76
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 28
RBIL. Duda 85
RD. Murphy 76
OPSL. Duda .831
WB. Colon 14
ERAZ. Wheeler 3.49
SOZ. Wheeler 180