LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The New York Mets don’t know whether closer Bobby Parnell will be ready for spring training as he continues his rehab following neck surgery on a bulging disc.
Parnell is to be re-examined next week.
“Hopefully he will be able to start resuming some baseball activities,’’ manager Terry Collins said. “But I don’t know where he is at the moment. He’s feeling better.’’
Parnell lost 30 pounds since surgery, which sapped his strength. He has to regain the weight and stamina. Collins said he hasn’t spoken with Parnell, which, honestly, comes as a surprise. You’d think he’d check in.
“We’ve got to wait to see how he shows up, where he’s at in a month,’’ Collins said. “He hasn’t done much yet, so he’s got to get himself in shape. I think get his legs underneath him and start throwing. We’ll just have to wait to see. Bobby has always been a guy that’s down there in January anyways.’’
Maybe so, but Parnell hasn’t reported before following neck surgery.
After several so-so seasons bouncing around the bullpen, Parnell seized the closer role last year when Frank Francisco went down with an elbow injury.
Parnell saved 22 games in 49 appearances, and produced a 2.16 ERA over 50 innings. Always a power pitcher with a high strikeout ratio, Parnell learned to pitch last season, and drastically improved his control evidenced by a 44-12 strikeouts-to-walks ratio.
Parnell gave up only one homer and had a 1.00 WHIP.
If Parnell isn’t ready for spring training, and at this time no assumptions should be made that he will be, Vic Black, whom the Mets acquired from Pittsburgh in the Marlon Byrd-John Buck trade, is presumably first in line to replace Parnell.
Black throws a wicked fastball, and like Parnell is a strikeout pitcher.
The Mets are looking for bullpen help and might consider released Indians closer Chris Perez, who will come with baggage.
Last year, Perez and his wife were busted for marijuana possession after he was mailed the dope to his house … addressed to the dog. Reminds me of the episode of “Married With Children” when Al Bundy applies for and gets a credit card in his dog Buck’s name.
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