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Familia to slowly make his way back to closer

MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

NEW YORK -- Within the next few days, Mets closer Jeurys Familia will return to the mound for a second Minor League rehab appearance. Familia, who underwent surgery to remove a blood clot from his right shoulder in May, still needs to show the Mets he can throw at least 30 pitches in an inning before they will activate him. The organization plans to take his rehab slowly, likely stretching it into the final days of August.

Even once Familia returns, manager Terry Collins said Friday that the Mets are likely to ease him back into his old ninth-inning role. The Mets do not want Familia to overexert himself in late-game situations, preferring him to ramp his velocity back up earlier in games. The Mets are also intrigued by AJ Ramos, whose ERA in save situations this season is nearly two full runs lower than in non-save situations.

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NEW YORK -- Within the next few days, Mets closer Jeurys Familia will return to the mound for a second Minor League rehab appearance. Familia, who underwent surgery to remove a blood clot from his right shoulder in May, still needs to show the Mets he can throw at least 30 pitches in an inning before they will activate him. The organization plans to take his rehab slowly, likely stretching it into the final days of August.

Even once Familia returns, manager Terry Collins said Friday that the Mets are likely to ease him back into his old ninth-inning role. The Mets do not want Familia to overexert himself in late-game situations, preferring him to ramp his velocity back up earlier in games. The Mets are also intrigued by AJ Ramos, whose ERA in save situations this season is nearly two full runs lower than in non-save situations.

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But ultimately, Familia is the closer. He will be the club's unquestioned ninth-inning man heading into Spring Training, even if it does not happen down the stretch.

"He'll get back in there. I don't know where it will be, if it's going to be the ninth inning right out of the gate," Collins said. "But I think the most important thing we're going to need to see is after the rehab that the health's good. … We're not worried about pressure situations. This guy's pitched in the biggest ones there is.

"As long as he leaves this year knowing that he's healthy, that's going to be a big step."

Because he also missed the season's first 15 games under terms of Major League Baseball's joint domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy, Familia appeared in just 11 games prior to undergoing surgery, recording three saves in four chances with a 3.86 ERA. Ramos has converted both of his save opportunities since joining the Mets on July 30, allowing four runs in seven innings overall.

Friday, Ramos faced his old Marlins teammates, with whom he spent five and a half seasons in Miami. He joked about wanting to face Giancarlo Stanton, his close friend and one of baseball's hottest hitters.

Ramos also discussed his comfort level in Flushing, whatever his short-term role may be.

"I love New York," Ramos said. "Getting to live here is amazing and the team is great. The guys are great. The atmosphere is good. So I'm looking forward to seeing what this season and next season brings."

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook.

New York Mets, Jeurys Familia