Mejia clears hurdle in shift to closer

May, 22, 2014
May 22
NEW YORK -- Jenrry Mejia cleared a psychological hurdle Thursday while notching his second career save.

Mejia worked back-to-back days for the first time since June 5-6, 2010 while completing the Mets’ 5-3 win against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Mejia has been leery about working on consecutive days because he feels the injury woes he suffered earlier in his career were linked to a bullpen-type workload rather than the consistency of starting.

“I feel pretty good. That was a long time since I pitched back to back,” Mejia said. “… Nothing hurt.”

Said Terry Collins: “It’s big for me, but it’s huge for him. The one thing he’s worried about is his arm. I won’t use him tomorrow -- I’m sending out the scouting report already -- because I told him I’d be careful with him. But if he knows tomorrow he can get through this, it’s going to be a huge addition for us that this guy is healthy, that he knows he can go back-to-back nights. It could change a lot of things about the way we shape our bullpen.”

Mejia is warming to closing, even though he staunchly has said he prefers starting.

“I’m enjoying the role, and I’m enjoying my team. I’m enjoying my bullpen,” Mejia said. “That’s my new house over there.”

Mejia’s light workload Wednesday -- eight pitches in a scoreless inning -- proved a perfect opportunity to get the emerging closer work for a second straight day.

“I wasn’t nervous. Yesterday I didn’t throw too many pitches -- seven or eight pitches,” Mejia said. “So today I felt ready to pitch.”

As for his modest jig after striking out the final batter, Scott Van Slyke, Mejia insisted it was just emotion and not choreographed.

“That’s adrenaline. I never try to do it. Never,” Mejia said. “When you strike out somebody, you feel very happy and you do something.”
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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