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Sunday, May 25, 2014
Pregame notes: Black is back, hopes to stay

By Kieran Darcy

NEW YORK -- Vic Black is back with the New York Mets, and he's hoping it's for more than one day.

With the Mets playing a doubleheader Sunday, thanks to Friday's rainout, the team was allowed to call up an extra player from the minor leagues. Black was the choice, and he sees this as a big opportunity.

"I definitely look at it that way," Black said Sunday morning in the Mets' clubhouse. "[I'm] getting another chance now, and whether or not I stay is up to them, but I’ll definitely try to make it as hard on them as possible."

Manager Terry Collins was non-committal before the game. "Well, there’ll be a lot of things involved," Collins said. "He may not get in. if he gets in, I wanna see strikes."

Black, who turned 26 on Friday, made 15 relief appearances for the Mets last September, with a record of 3-0, a 3.46 ERA and one save. But he struggled this spring and began the season at Triple-A. In 17 appearances with Las Vegas, he was 0-1 with a 1.45 ERA and seven saves.

Those numbers look pretty good, and in 18 2/3 innings Black struck out 18 batters and gave up just 12 hits. But he walked 17 batters, nearly one per inning.

"The walks definitely will be cut down the more I get back out there," Black said. "But at the same time, my job is to get outs, not let runs score in the game, and I feel like I’ve been doing that quite well. So I’ll continue to take that approach and run with it."

Black said he has abandoned a mechanical change he made last year under the guidance of Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen, who suggested narrowing his stance. Black went back to his old stance after coming off the disabled list for Las Vegas back in April.

"I was like, the heck with this, the comfort with the other is not there right now," Black said. "I’m gonna go back to this, what I know, and it just kind of freed up my mind and allowed me to think more about what I was doing out there to get guys out, rather than being so concerned with trying to be on time, or making sure I’m landing this way, or staying back."

Black's last outing at Triple A was on Tuesday -- he pitched a scoreless inning, with one strikeout and one walk, notching his seventh save against Fresno.

"Certainly his stuff, we saw it last fall, last September -- outstanding stuff," Collins said. "If he throws it near the plate, he gets outs."

Double duty: You'll probably see David Wright and Daniel Murphy start both games of the doubleheader.

"I had talked to David and Murph both about their days off, and it’s probably gonna come on the road," Collins said.

Wright has played in all 47 games thus far this season, the only Met to do so. Murphy has played in 45 games, tied for second-most on the team with Curtis Granderson.

Rehab duty: Catcher Travis d'Arnaud will play for Double-A Binghamton on Sunday, the first game of his rehabilitation assignment after suffering a concussion against the Yankees on May 13.

"We’ll have to see how he comes out of each game," Collins said. "We’re hoping he catches five innings today, and see how he responds to that. Then we're gonna try to get him some at-bats tomorrow, and he's gonna have to catch more on Tuesday -- that one will really be the deciding factor, on how he’s responding."