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Newcomer Black among Mets' callups

WASHINGTON -- Vic Black's professional baseball career had, in a couple of ways, come full circle when he joined the Mets ahead of Sunday night's series finale against the Nationals. He was one of three players the club added on the first day of expanded rosters, along with left-hander Tim Byrdak and infielder Zach Lutz.

Black, a right-handed reliever the Mets acquired from the Pirates in the Marlon Byrd trade, was drafted originally by the Mets, in the 41st round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft. But Black had devoted himself to pitching only recently and wanted to go to college. After three years at Dallas Baptist University, the Pirates chose him 49th overall in 2009, and he debuted in the Majors on July 25 -- in Washington.

The 25-year-old made three appearances for Pittsburgh and was back with Triple-A Indianapolis when he officially was sent to the Mets on Thursday, as the player to be named in the deal that took Byrd and John Buck to Pittsburgh. He slotted in as the Mets' No. 14 prospect in's rankings.

"It's been a roller coaster, to tell you the truth," Black said. "This is something you don't know what it's like until you actually go through it. ... It's definitely exciting. Once the news finally came out and it was official, I was more than stoked to actually be a part of it."

Black averaged 96 mph with his fastball with the Bucs and has the ability to reach triple digits. He also features a power slider. In his MLB debut with the Pirates, he walked Jayson Werth but struck out Ian Desmond looking -- and made a strong impression in the process.

"I just talked to some guys on the Nationals that faced him, and they said he's got closer stuff," Mets manager Terry Collins said before Sunday's game.

That's a role Black relishes and said he "absolutely" would like to fill with the Mets at some point. He has saved 30 games over the past two seasons at Indianapolis and Double-A Altoona, and this season he posted a 2.51 ERA and 63 strikeouts over 46 2/3 innings.

"Back end [of the bullpen] is definitely what I think I'm bred for, mind-wise," Black said. "Aggressiveness, it seems to flow. I've done it the past two years, been fairly successful at it when given the opportunity within the organization I was with, and it's definitely something I'd like to carry on."

Black spent some time as a starter early in his pro career, but a shoulder injury that cost him almost all of the 2010 season pointed him toward the bullpen. He believes his personality is more suited to that role anyway.

"Just be ready," Black said. "I've been told there's a lot of opportunity, and opportunity's always great for anybody. I'm thankful to be here and be a part of it."

Andrew Simon is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @HitTheCutoff.
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