NEW YORK -- Terry Collins suggested Saturday that Vic Black has all the pieces to become an elite late-inning pitcher in the majors, with one exception. He still needs to harness his control.
Black, who is due to join the Mets as the 26th man for Sunday's doubleheader, has a 1.45 ERA with Triple-A Las Vegas this season, but also has 17 walks and a hit batter in 18 2/3 innings.
Las Vegas (AAA)
"The issue is he's been walking guys," Collins said. "His stuff? Off the charts. The other day [Las Vegas manager] Wally [Backman] said he came into a game, he was 98-99 mph, walked the first guy, got a double-play ball, struck the last guy out. That's exactly what's been going on. He has not been getting hit, but the command has not been what you would like it to be in a guy who you project to be the closer one day.
"If we can get him to have better command of his stuff, he'll never see the minor leagues again, because his stuff is 'plus.' I mean, he's got a power breaking ball, movement on the 98 mph fastball. It's all there. He's just got to get it in the zone.
"Wally said he's gotten better, but he's still walking guys. But he's better."
Asked if there was a decent chance Black would stick around beyond Sunday rather than make a U-turn back to Vegas, Collins said: "I really don't have any idea. We've got a day game Monday. Until we get through the games tomorrow to see what Monday looks like -- if we blow out our pitching tomorrow and we think we've got to have an extra pitcher on Monday -- who knows?"
Close to catching on: Travis d'Arnaud was scheduled to block balls, run the bases and take batting practice Saturday. After that activity, Collins expected doctors would be ready to sign off on d'Arnaud beginning a minor-league rehab assignment. D'Arnaud has been sidelined since suffering a concussion on May 13 at Yankee Stadium on a backswing from Alfonso Soriano.
However, pitching coach Dan Warthen insisted not to read anything into the tentative date for Gee's return -- suggesting it easily could be revised if the organization instead chooses to bounce Montero to the bullpen or Triple-A.
Sensitive subject: Gonzalez Germen initially landed on the DL with a virus, but was pulled off a rehab assignment with what Sandy Alderson labeled an abscess. That abscess apparently is in a sensitive area of Germen's body, and Collins said he preferred not disclosing precisely where. "I don't necessarily know if I'm the guy to tell you where it is," Collins said. "It's not in his shoulder. I can assure you of that. ... Undisclosed location."
Order established: Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said Bronson Arroyo will oppose Rafael Montero in Game 1 of Sunday's doubleheader. Right-hander Zeke Spruill will be promoted from Triple-A Reno to oppose Daisuke Matsuzaka in Game 2. Spruill, 24, was 2-1 with a 4.72 ERA in 12 games (five starts) in the Pacific Coast League this season. He has pitched three times this season against Las Vegas, the Mets affiliate, and allowed one run in seven innings.