Mejia on shaky ground entering Friday start

May, 6, 2014
MIAMI -- It would behoove Jenrry Mejia to pitch deep into the game in Friday's start against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field.

Mejia basically is on a start-to-start basis at this point, with another middle-inning meltdown sure to intensify talk of a shift to the bullpen, a team insider acknowledged.

Mejia enters Friday's start having allowed eight fifth-inning runs against the Colorado Rockies in his most recent outing. Opponents have a .160 batting average in their first plate appearance against him, .239 in the second plate appearance and .438 in the third plate appearance this season. Mejia has averaged roughly 5 1/3 innings a start.

Mejia previously had communicated to the front office that he would prefer working in Triple-A as a starter to working in the majors in relief. The belief nonetheless is that he would back off that preference if he were ever bounced from the rotation.

Mejia told The Wall Street Journal working as a closer "would be different" than ordinary bullpen work and he would be amenable. Still, it's highly unlikely the Mets would shift Mejia directly into a closer's role. Instead, Mejia would need to establish himself in the bullpen and then take on progressively more important roles as he demonstrated he could handle extra responsibility.
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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