One of the more interesting Mets this spring will be Bobby Parnell, who hasn’t spoken to Terry Collins about a defined role but said his aspirations of being a starter are gone.
“I see myself as a reliever,’’ Parnell said. “I’d like to be later in the game. The seventh, eighth, ninth inning.’’
With his fastball and improving slider, speculation has him moving into the set-up role for Francisco Rodriguez, who has a $17.5 million option for 2012 if he finishes 55 games this season. It wouldn’t be hard to imagine the Mets limiting his appearances to get out from under that contract.
That could happen if Rodriguez doesn’t show up at camp 100 percent.
“That’s where I want to be,’’ Parnell said of his goal of someday assuming a closer role. “If he comes in hurt, I would definitely like to help the team in that role until he gets healthy.’’
Parnell said his handful of starts at the end of the 2009 season – despite his numbers – were beneficial because it gave him experience and enabled him to work on the slider.
Parnell said having a fastball that touches 100 mph. does not guarantee him taking that next step to a higher level. It is trusting that fastball and “attacking the hitters,’’ and working on his command that will improve his game. “It’s being consistent,’’ Parnell said.