Mets ready for Mejia's return from suspension
Collins hopes reliever addresses team in some capacity on Tuesday
LOS ANGELES -- Whether Jenrry Mejia addresses the clubhouse as a whole or has conversations privately, locker to locker, Terry Collins doesn't care. The Mets manager does not even care if his suspended former closer apologizes. But he does feel that Mejia must say something upon returning Tuesday in San Francisco.
"I think he has to," Collins said of Mejia, who was suspended for 80 games in April after testing positive for the performance-enhancing substance Stanozolol. "I think it's important for him to say, 'Hey look, we're moving forward here. I'm helping move forward.' He's a big part of this team. When you talk to him after he got suspended, he was heartbroken."
Mejia has spent the past week-plus in the Minors readying himself for Tuesday, with good success. He has allowed just one run over five outings at the Mets' rookie-level Gulf Coast Mets and Triple-A Las Vegas affiliates, striking out 10 batters without a walk. Those numbers have the Mets considering using him in high-leverage situations right away, considering the inconsistencies they have experienced in the seventh and eighth innings this season.
One thing Collins insisted he will not do is hold Mejia out of important games, despite knowing he will be ineligible to play in the postseason should the Mets make it there.
"I think you've got to get to the playoffs," Collins said. "And if this guy's the guy that gets you there, you take your chances when playoff time comes. I don't think you can not pitch him today in the eighth inning when that's the ideal situation, because you say, 'Jeez, I'm not going to have him next week when we get in the playoffs.' You've got to win today. And right now, we're scratching and clawing to stay in the race and get back in it legitimately. And if he can help us, more power to him."