Jenrry Mejia threw off a mound Thursday for the first time since Tommy John surgery last May 16, and Terry Collins pronounced the session a success.
“I thought his arm was good and loose,” Collins said. “He had really good extension. And, as I’ve been talking all spring about Johan [Santana], the same thing pretty much holds true with him, with his elbow. You’re looking to see how he acts. I thought he looked great. He said he feels terrific. He wants to obviously do more and more and more. But I told him, and I’ll any young pitcher that’s in his situation, ‘Hey, look, patience is the key. You’ve got to go do the rehab. You’ve got to through the whole process. And in the end it will all be for the best.’”
Collins said Mejia should be ready for games in May. The manager believes Mejia is polished enough that, beyond rehab work, he does not necessarily need more development time.
“I think he may be past that point,” Collins said. “… You know, sometimes you can’t stop people. They force their way.”
So what will Mejia be when he is ready -- starter or reliever?
Paul DePodesta called it an “open question.” And, the Mets VP added, his role this year may not match his role in 2013 and beyond. DePodesta also said the Texas Rangers have had success using guys in the majors as relievers, then making them starters later. (Think Alexi Ogando.)
Combine all those hints and it’s possible Mejia is in the major league bullpen during the second half of this season, then potentially competing for a rotation spot if the organization feels that’s best in future seasons.