Familia, excited for 'meaningful' 2017, arrives at camp

Mets still uncertain about closer's suspension status

February 14th, 2017

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- His visa issue solved, reported to Mets camp Tuesday amid continued uncertainty. The Mets still do not know if Major League Baseball will suspend Familia to start this season, and they may not have that answer for several weeks. All they can do now is prepare Familia for the season as thoroughly as possible.
Familia, for his part, declined all questions regarding his Oct. 31 arrest on a domestic violence charge, citing his lawyer's advice. He requested only to speak about baseball matters.
"I'm very happy about this upcoming season," Familia said through an interpreter. "I think it's a very meaningful one for us, just because we've now had two previous seasons where we've made it pretty far."
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Familia has been a significant part of those seasons, posting a 2.20 ERA in 233 innings since 2014. Last year, he set a Mets franchise record with 51 saves, the most ever by a Dominican-born closer.
Yet that workload also brings questions with it. Among relievers, only the Yankees' has thrown more innings than Familia over the past three seasons. While Familia has stayed remarkably healthy throughout his ironman run, he has experienced some notable performance hiccups -- most notably during the 2015 World Series and the '16 National League Wild Card Game.
Even if MLB does suspend Familia, he will receive little rest early this spring. Familia is scheduled to pitch for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic, requiring him to work into game shape this month.
"I just prepare myself to help the team anytime that they need me," Familia said. "So anytime that they need me, I'll be ready to go."
For now, Mets officials are bracing for a suspension, with plans to shift former D-backs and White Sox closer into the ninth inning should MLB suspend Familia under its Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy. Once Familia returns, he will slide back into the closer's role.
"We're all pulling for him certainly to be able to get through this mentally, and continue to be the pitcher we think that he has been the last couple of years," manager Terry Collins said. "But we're lucky to have Addison who can pick up the slack right now."