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Sunday, August 18, 2013
Mejia season in jeopardy; Burke looms

By Adam Rubin

SAN DIEGO -- Jenrry Mejia confirmed he departed Saturday night's game in the fourth inning because of a flare-up of discomfort related to the bone spur in his right elbow. Mejia also experienced the discomfort during a July 31 start in Miami, but said this time it was "a lot more" uncomfortable.

"That's why I stopped," Mejia said. "I don't want to keep pitching with that, because I was starting to throw some balls. And I want to pitch good. It bothered me a lot today -- more than Miami."

Sandy Alderson said the Mets would make a roster move to bring in a fresh arm for Sunday's matinee game, whether or not Mejia lands on the DL. Greg Burke, already on the 40-man roster, is expected to join the major league club.

The GM added that there would be no consideration given to having Mejia return to the mound until he was examined by team doctors in New York. The Mets are satisfied that Mejia was not doing further damage by pitching with the bone spur -- that it was just a pain tolerance issue. Mejia has stated he will need surgery to remove the spur.

"We all know that he's had some issues with his elbow," Alderson said. "He was pitching to [pain] tolerance. That tolerance was exceeded tonight apparently and he had to come out. The doctor here took a look at him, but at this point it's about his symptoms. They were obviously severe tonight, and we'll see where this takes us.

"The first issue for us is what to do for tomorrow. So we'll probably have someone come in. We'll make a move tomorrow. It may involve Jenrry. It may involve someone else. And we'll go from there. I wouldn't expect him to pitch any time until he's seen by a [Mets] doctor."

Asked if there were any candidates beyond Carlos Torres to step into Mejia's rotation spot, Alderson said there would be plenty of options if not for innings caps on young minor league pitchers as well as 40-man roster considerations. With those issues in place, though, he did not identify an alternative to Torres, who presumably will step into the rotation.

The Mets actually do have some wiggle room, because Thursday is a team off-day. Still, a four-man rotation for one turn would not seem practical because the Mets are trying to lessen the workloads of Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler.

And the Mets' promising young pitchers would appear off-limits, given the organization does not want to jump their innings much more than 30 from 2012 levels. Jacob deGrom has logged 134 2/3 innings this year, already a jump of 23 1/3 from last year. Rafael Montero already has exceeded last year's innings count by 16 2/3. And Noah Syndergaard, while dominating in Double-A, has been capped at five-inning appearances and is skipping his next Eastern League start.

DeGrom, at least, does need to be added to the 40-man roster this winter for Rule 5 protection, whereas Montero does not.

"There are a number of different considerations," Alderson said. "Obviously ability is one of them, but not exclusively. So there are innings limitations on some of our young guys who have risen through the system pretty quickly. There are roster issues with guys who may not have to be put on the roster. There are different issues that we have to sort through."

Terry Collins said pitching coach Dan Warthen thought Mejia "did not warm up very good" for the start. Mejia said the issue did not become a problem until he took the mound for his fourth and final inning and started to warm up.

"I don't have to worry, because everybody knows," Mejia said. "The doctor said that this is what it is. I know this is going to happen."