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Collins would consider Mejia for bullpen role

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- It wasn't long ago that the Mets decided on Jenrry Mejia's future once and for all. He was going to be a starting pitcher. Seriously. For real.

But manager Terry Collins said on Monday that if Mejia does not make the rotation out of Spring Training, the Mets could carry him on the Opening Day roster as a reliever.

"One thing we know about him is, he can pitch out of the bullpen," Collins said. "We've seen it."

The Mets famously broke camp with a 20-year-old Mejia in tow in 2010, using him 30 times out of the bullpen before a right shoulder injury sidelined him. That sparked a two-year period of organizational indecision, during which the Mets tried to figure out if Mejia was better off starting or relieving.

"There were some people in this organization who felt maybe he couldn't be a starter because there's such maximum effort in his delivery." Collins said. "He proved them wrong, that he can go out there and start and can get you deep into a game. So, he's got that to his benefit."

And it seemed it would stay that way after Mejia posted a 2.30 ERA down the stretch last year, prior to undergoing season-ending elbow surgery. But now the Mets might switch things up again. Collins said last week that he liked the idea of having a veteran at the back of his rotation, and spoke glowingly of Daisuke Matsuzaka yet again on Monday. Matsuzaka is Mejia's chief competitor for the lone rotation vacancy, with John Lannan, Jacob deGrom and Rafael Montero also fighting for it.

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