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Mets reliever Rice to have sports hernia surgery

CLEVELAND -- Scott Rice entered Friday with more appearances than any other pitcher in baseball. He won't get the chance to add to that total, however, as the Mets announced the left-hander would undergo season-ending surgery on a sports hernia.

Rice assembled a 3.71 ERA across 73 games with New York this season. Mets skipper Terry Collins said Rice had been pitching through his injury for the last several weeks.

"I know that each and every day he's had treatment," Collins said before Friday's series opener against the Indians. "Last week, it started to get worse. He came in before each game and got treatment. The other day in Atlanta, he came to me right at the start of the game and said, 'Listen, I'm OK. I'll keep it loose.'

"We actually thought it was a hip strain more than anything, but it got to the point where the discomfort was so large we had to have him checked. He's done. He's going to have to go have surgery."

After being drafted in 1999, Rice, a 31-year-old rookie, finally got a chance to pitch in the Majors this year. He became a valuable component of the Mets' bullpen, particularly against left-handed hitters, whom he held to a .174 batting average.

On the same day Rice's surgery became known, New York selected the contract of southpaw Sean Henn from Triple-A Las Vegas. In 51 games there, Henn went 3-5 with a 2.81 ERA.

In 51 total innings with the Mets, Rice had 41 strikeouts and 27 walks, with just one home run allowed. Rice's ability to keep the ball in the park impressed Collins, though the manager would like to see him cut down on his walks. Collins anticipates having Rice in the mix when Spring Training commences next year.

"He's had an outstanding year, just an outstanding year," Collins said. "He should be very proud. Fifteen years in the Minor Leagues. He certainly did a good job for us."

Mark Emery is an associate reporter for
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