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Sunday, July 20, 2014
Pads pitcher resembles El Duque

By Adam Rubin

Manu Fernandez/Associated PressOdrisamer Despaigne pitched in Cuba before defecting last year.

SAN DIEGO -- What’s in store for the Mets in Sunday’s series finale against the San Diego Padres, who are  starting 27-year-old right-hander Odrisamer Despaigne?

Terry Collins said Despaigne resembles another Cuban defector: ex-Met Orlando Hernandez.

Despaigne,  27, has a 1.35 ERA in four starts since making his major league debut on June 23. His fastball averages 90.7 mph and cutter averages 87.1 mph.

He defected in June 2013 at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris while the Cuban team was en route to a tournament in the Netherlands. He received a $1 million bonus to sign with the Padres on May 2.

“I saw the tape of this guy,” Collins said. “It’s like facing El Duque -- all different angles, different pitches. He can throw hard when he needs to. He can back off when he wants to. So I can see why he’s successful.