Bullpen shakeup as TC searches for relief


A look at the worst bullpen ERAs in the National League this season.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Terry Collins met with pitching coach Dan Warthen during Monday's off-day, and the duo resolved to shake up bullpen roles.

Beyond Frank Francisco as closer and Tim Byrdak as lefty specialist, nothing is set except that it will be different. So Bobby Parnell and Jon Rauch no longer are the primary setup men for Francisco.

The manager strongly implied Miguel Batista, who served as a closer in winter ball, will get a late-inning look -- likely as the primary lead-in to Francisco.

Collins said Batista is attractive because of durability as well as because of a sinker that hopefully will keep opposing batters from launching homers. The Mets' 5.59 bullpen ERA is more than a full run more than any other NL team. The Milwaukee Brewers are second-worst at 4.45. The 20 homers surrendered by the relief corps are fourth-most in the NL.

Modest help likely will take two more weeks to arrive. Jenrry Mejia is due to begin a two-week relief program with Triple-A Buffalo on Thursday or Friday. At the end of the two weeks -- after performing in situations with the Bisons such as working back-to-back days and entering mid-inning -- Mejia very well could be promoted to the majors.