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Farnsworth not the only ninth-inning option

NEW YORK -- If nothing else, the Mets have plenty of ninth-inning options should Kyle Farnsworth falter as closer.

Manager Terry Collins threw another name into the mix on Wednesday, saying that he could envision Daisuke Matsuzaka closing in the future. The issue is that the Mets want Matsuzaka to remain somewhat stretched out in case they need him to join the rotation, but Collins also considers him valuable at the end of games.

"We wrestle with trying to keep them long, ready to start a game," Collins said of such relievers as Matsuzaka and Carlos Torres, "yet using them as their versatility dictates in shorter roles."

Another closer candidate is Vic Black, the organization's primary contingency plan behind Bobby Parnell heading into Spring Training. But Black's struggles this spring resulted in a demotion to Triple-A Las Vegas, where he has succeeded despite significant wildness. Black is unscored upon in 7 1/3 innings for the 51s, but he has also walked seven batters.

Collins suggested that Black won't earn a callup until his control improves.

"We're keeping tabs on him," Collins said. "I look at those stats every day."

Eventually, prospects Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom could also enter the ninth-inning shuffle, though the Mets hope it doesn't come to that any time soon. In a perfect world, Farnsworth will keep the job for as long as he is able at age 38. He is 1-for-1 in save opportunities since assuming closing duties last weekend.

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo.
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