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Saturday, February 15, 2014
Farnsworth happy for any role

By Adam Rubin

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Terry Collins already has reaffirmed Bobby Parnell is his closer. So Jose Valverde and Kyle Farnsworth, both of whom have closing experience, are in camp as late-inning safety nets ... and currently on minor-league contracts, for the record.

That's just fine with Farnsworth, the ex-Yankee said Saturday morning, after arriving at Mets camp toting a Pittsburgh Pirates equipment bag.

Adam RubinKyle Farnsworth speaks at Mets camp Saturday.

“Nothing was explained. It’s still early," Farnsworth said about his role. "This is just quite a good opportunity to come here and try to help out the best way I can.”

Farnsworth, 37, went 2-0 with a 5.76 ERA in 39 relief appearances for the Tampa Bay Rays last season before getting released Aug. 11. He joined the Pirates organization five days later and eventually contributed a 1.04 ERA in nine September appearances as Pittsburgh snapped its long playoff drought.

“For that city not to experience that in 20 or 25 years, and the way they turned out for the playoff games and wild-card games like that, and the way they supported the team, it was real fun," said Farnsworth, who did not participate in the postseason.

As for his season overall in 2013, Farnsworth labeled it "Up and down, definitely."

Added Farnsworth: "But that’s part of baseball. You’ve got to take the good with the bad and make adjustments. That was part of last year. The main thing is to finish strong.”

Farnsworth appeared in pinstripes for three seasons, until he was traded at the 2008 deadline to the Detroit Tigers for Ivan Rodriguez. He said of his Yankees experience: “I experienced it in New York -- press and atmosphere like that. That part is definitely not going to be new to me. I’m looking forward to it. It was fun. It was definitely a different experience compared to some places, but it was a great time. A great stadium. Great people. Great fans. And it was great teams.”

His fastball averaged 96.2 mph back in '06, but last season had dipped to 92.6 mph. He no longer can touch 100 mph.

“I wish I could still do that," Farnsworth said. "I don’t know -- it’s just one of those things that you’re blessed to do, and you hope to be able to harness that. Over the years I’ve learned that you can get away with more mistakes throwing that hard. But the older you get the more you learn how to pitch. That’s where you have to mature and grow into things like that.”