Parnell could close with Familia away
NEW YORK -- As Jeurys Familia awaits the birth of a child, Bobby Parnell is on call to resume closing duties far sooner than expected.
Familia's success in the ninth inning this season -- 18 saves in 19 chances, with a 1.21 ERA -- quickly quieted any drama regarding Parnell's return from the disabled list this week, after the former closer missed almost all of the 2014 season recovering from Tommy John surgery. Neither Parnell nor suspended reliever Jenrry Mejia entered the midsummer months with any realistic chance of supplanting Familia.
But with Familia potentially landing on the paternity list as soon as Saturday, and the Mets lacking any obvious ninth-inning replacements, Parnell could serve as closer for a day or two. Familia closed out the Mets' 5-3 win over the Braves on Friday night, then went directly to the hospital.
"I think this is an ideal situation to put Bobby in a spot where he's going to be tested a little bit," manager Terry Collins said. "He could conceivably close."
Normally, that would not be much of an issue, but Parnell struggled mightily during two Minor League rehab stints this season, posting an 11.57 ERA with 14 walks in 14 innings as his velocity hovered well below its typical standard. The Mets activated him from the DL because his rehab clock was running out, but they initially hoped to ease him into high-leverage situations.
Familia's looming absence removed that luxury for Collins, who considers Parnell one of his more trusted relievers despite his issues in the Minors. From 2012 to 2013, Parnell saved 29 games and recorded a 2.35 ERA before tearing the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow last spring.