Aardsma posts scoreless frame in big league return
NEW YORK -- David Aardsma joined the Mets on Saturday to bolster a bullpen that entered Saturday's game with a 4.91 ERA, as well as failing to convert save opportunities at a nearly 50-percent rate.
New York's newest relief pitcher didn't take long to make his presence felt. He threw a 1-2-3 12th inning in the Mets' 2-1, 20-inning loss to the Marlins on Saturday, striking out one and clocking 92 mph on Citi Field's scoreboard radar gun.
Aardsma said it "absolutely" feels great to be back in the Majors. "I feel good," is the phrase that frequently emanated from around his locker on his first day with New York, and words that he put on display on Saturday.
The Mets optioned relief pitcher Collin McHugh to Triple-A Las Vegas to make room for Aardsma on the active roster and transferred relief pitcher Jeurys Familia to the 60-day disabled list to open up Aardsma's spot on the 40-man roster.
Aardsma showed signs that he could be more successful in the Majors than much of New York's scuffling bullpen, posing a 2.05 ERA with three saves and 11 strikeouts over 22 innings in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.
"If you can pitch there," Aardsma said before Saturday's game, "you can pretty much pitch anywhere."
Aardsma was one of the last men that Terry Collins turned to out of the pen -- only Robert Carson outlasted him in the Mets' bullpen -- but in a 20-inning marathon, New York's manager had no choice.
But Aardsma performed admirably, albeit against a Miami team that entered with the worst offense in baseball.
Aardsma's arrival immediately made him one of the team's most experienced relief pitchers. He's one of the few Major Leaguers familiar with that type of a marathon -- he said he'd been part of an 18-inning game before -- and he saved 69 games in two seasons with the Mariners before Tommy John derailed his career. His 14-pitch inning on Saturday was just his second since 2010.
With the Mets, it has a chance to be the first of many as he searches for his first firm Major League role since he was playing in Seattle.
"I feel good," Aardsma said. "I feel very good. I'm very happy with my body. It's been a long road, but it's worth it."
David Wilson is an associate reporter for MLB.com.