NEW YORK -- Sandy Alderson released Kyle Farnsworth with a week to go in spring training because the GM did not want to give the veteran reliever a $100,000 retention bonus to send him to the minors.
Farnsworth converted his first chance in the new role Monday, completing a 2-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals at Citi Field with a scoreless ninth.
After Yadier Molina had a leadoff single, Jhonny Peralta grounded into a double play and Jon Jay grounded out to second base as Farnsworth notched his first save since Sept. 29 with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
There was one eyebrow-raising event postgame, though. After walking into the tunnel en route to the clubhouse, Farnsworth was caught on WPIX shaking his right forearm. Terry Collins then did a U-turn and began to talk with a bent-over Farnsworth as the shot ended.
Farnsworth insisted afterward he was OK.
“I’m old,” Farnsworth said. “I do that all the time. Everything’s good.”
Scouts had dismissed Farnsworth during spring training, as he was hit hard and his velocity hovered in the upper-80s. But Farnsworth regularly is residing at 95 mph all of a sudden, and Collins said the team even clocked him touching 96 mph on Monday.
“When you’ve thrown a lot of bullets like he has over the years -- for 15 years -- they take a little while to get ready,” Collins said. “We had some issues at the end of spring training that kept him from getting some innings that he wanted -- needed -- at the end. We thought he should start out in Vegas. And we had an injury that got him right up here. He hit 96 mph today. That’s pretty good. And if he continues to build up that arm strength, he’s going to really help us, because we need that back end of the bullpen.”
Asked where the renewed velocity has come from, Farnsworth said: “I really don’t know. I don’t look at that kind of stuff. Arm strength comes over pitching in games and throwing.”