TC says he won't burn Rice

April, 16, 2014
PHOENIX -- With John Lannan's dismissal, Scott Rice is the lone left-hander in the Mets' bullpen.

And Terry Collins maintained he will be conscious not to overuse Rice, after inserting him in 73 games through Sept. 3 last season. Rice then required dual sports-hernia surgeries.

Collins has outings in mind like Wednesday. Rice inherited two runners from Kyle Farnsworth with two outs in the eighth and coaxed an inning-ending groundout to second base from lefty-hitting Gerardo Parra.

In the upcoming series, Collins said he will hold back Rice for a late matchup with No. 3 hitter Freddie Freeman.

At most, Rice would face lefty-hitting leadoff man Jason Heyward, No. 2 hitter B.J. Upton (a righty batter), then Freeman before departing.

“You’ve got to save him for that certain guy,” Collins said. “We’ve got the Braves coming in, so it’s going to be Freddie Freeman. There are certain times where you’ve got Heyward, and Freeman’s hitting third, he maybe is going to get Heyward and the second hitter and Freeman. It’s got to be a certain situation. Otherwise you kill him by just getting up and down.”

Before Wednesday, Rice had struggled this season. He has a 12.00 ERA in seven appearances spanning three innings.

“Very, very big for him,” Collins said about Wednesday's one-batter appearance. “That’s what we saw him do a lot of times last summer -- come in and get that big left-handed hitter out. He’s gotten off to a little bit of a slow start, but this is I thought a big out for him.”
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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