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Thursday, March 13, 2014
Montero, deGrom get relief looks

By Adam Rubin

VIERA, Fla. -- Rafael Montero's outing lasted one pitch Thursday. But it proved a preview of what might be.

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Terry Collins inserted Montero and Jacob deGrom into identical relief roles against the Washington Nationals.

Montero inherited two runners with two outs in the fourth from Daisuke Matsuzaka.

DeGrom inherited two runners with two outs in the eighth from Noah Syndergaard.

It is difficult to see the Mets having room to squeeze Montero or deGrom into the Opening Day bullpen. But a bullpen role certainly is conceivable in-season to introduce one or both to the majors, especially if the Mets already will need to clear a rotation spot for Syndergaard at some point this summer.

“If they’re going to pitch out of the bullpen, they’re going to have to get used to coming into a situation with guys on, where they’ve got to get a big out,” Terry Collins said.

Montero and deGrom had disparate success Thursday.

After Ruben Tejada's error prolonged the fourth inning, Montero entered and required only one pitch to dispose of Tyler Moore on a fly out to left field.

DeGrom, meanwhile, served up a three-run homer to Brock Peterson in the eighth that tied the score at 5. Two of the runs were charged to Syndergaard.

DeGrom did contribute a scoreless ninth. He qualified for the win because Kirk Nieuwenhuis delivered a tiebreaking two-run single in the top of the inning.