Mejia may stay closer after Parnell returns


Adam Rubin

Bobby Parnell may not assume the closer's role if Jenrry Mejia is lights out in Parnell's absence.

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Terry Collins will not just hand Bobby Parnell the closer’s job when he is activated from the disabled list a few weeks into the season.

The manager said Saturday that Jenrry Mejia, who should open the season as the closer, will have an opportunity to keep that role after Parnell’s return if Mejia is lights out in early April.

Parnell successfully closed for the Mets until two summers ago. Then, he dealt with a herniated disk in his neck. He missed all but Opening Day last season with an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery.

Parnell is expected to be activated in late April, slightly more than 12 months after his elbow procedure.

“We’ll see where he is when he comes back. We’ll see how he’s pitching,” Collins said. “We provide opportunities. It’s up to the players to make the most of it. If we start the season with Jenrry as the closer and he is dealing, he’s going to be the closer. Right now I just want Bobby to prepare himself to be the closer, because that’s where we think he has the best fit.”

Parnell had indicated Wednesday that he expects to be the closer when activated.