PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- After spending 14 professional seasons in the minor leagues and independent ball, left-hander Scott Rice made his major league debut with the Mets at the age of 31 in 2013.
So it was natural for Rice to re-sign with the Mets in December on a minor-league contract, two months after getting removed from the team's 40-man roster and becoming a free agent. After all, the Mets were the team that finally allowed him to realize his big-league dream, so he felt loyalty.
New York Mets
“There was nowhere else I wanted to go,” Rice said Sunday at Mets camp. “We both had the same thought in mind. Obviously they were going out to see if they could upgrade at the position. I think at the end of the day I’m just happy with the confidence they had in me and knowing they’re going to give me a shot to make the team.”
After a successful rookie season in 2013 in which he had 73 appearances, Rice went 1-2 with a 5.93 ERA in 32 appearances spanning 13 2/3 innings to open last season with the Mets. After a minors demotion, he ultimately underwent elbow surgery on July 23 to remove a bone spur and relocate a nerve in his pitching elbow.
Now, he will compete with Sean Gilmartin, Dario Alvarez and Jack Leathersich to serve as Josh Edgin's complement in the bullpen -- although the Mets may not carry a second southpaw reliever. While Rice is on a minor-league contract, Gilmartin is a Rule 5 pick and Alvarez and Leathersich have options. So the Mets are not wedded to any of those southpaws on the Opening Day roster.
"I’m having no side effects at all,” Rice said about his health. “The numbness is gone. I’m not feeling any of the symptoms I had last year. I won’t really know until I start getting out there every day and everything, but the rehab I’ve been ahead of schedule. So everything feels great."