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Mets opt for closer by committee

NEW YORK -- How will the New York Mets replace Francisco Rodriguez?

By using a closer by committee, according to manager Terry Collins.

Collins said Thursday that right-handers Jason Isringhausen, Bobby Parnell and Pedro Beato will all be given opportunities to save games, while left-hander Tim Byrdak will also be in the mix, depending on matchups.

"I'm not gonna name one guy, because right now I don't think it's fair," Collins said. "Right now, we're gonna pick some different guys, and let those guys do most of the work. This is a great learning opportunity for Bobby and Pedro, and with Izzy down there they're gonna have a great guy that they can learn from."

Isringhausen thinks a closer by committee scenario can thrive if there's no ego.

"I think if nobody gets an ego, I think it'll work just fine," said Isringhausen, who is 1-0 with a 3.14 ERA this season. "I don't think any of us will have one, and I think it'll work out the way Terry wants it to."

Isringhausen has by far the most experience of any of the other candidates. The 38-year-old has nailed down 293 saves in his career. However, he hasn't converted a save since Aug. 1, 2008, when he was a member of the St. Louis Cardinals.

"My role is to help young guys mature and become better pitchers," said Isringhausen, who was setting up for Rodriguez prior to Tuesday night's trade that sent Rodriguez to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for a pair of minor league prospects to be named later. "(But) if (Terry) calls on me in the ninth, I'll give it everything I can.

"Nobody's gonna take K-Rod's place. What we're gonna do is mix and match the ninth inning, and see who's matching up good and go about it that way."

Parnell sounded thrilled about the opportunity to be thrust into the closer's role, and could potentially be auditioning for that role on a long-term basis.

"I'm ready," Parnell said. "It's where I want to be eventually."

Parnell has pitched to a 1.62 ERA in his past 14 appearances out of Mets bullpen. Over that span of 16 2/3 innings, he has struck out 18 while holding opposing hitters to a .217 batting average.

For his career, the 26-year-old -- who has an electric fastball that has been clocked at over 100 mph -- has saved one game at the major league level (Aug. 5, 2009 against St. Louis).

Beato, who set a franchise rookie record earlier this season by kicking off his career by hurling 18 2/3 scoreless innings, doesn't expect the transition to be easy.

"It's a lot more aggressive, it's a lot more exciting," said Beato, 24, who used to be a closer in Double-A. "It might be a little difficult, but we've just gotta do our jobs. Izzy's done it for a while."

Isringhausen said the team cannot afford to look at the Rodriguez deal in a negative light.

"It wasn't one of the young guys getting traded, they gotta look at it that way," Isringhausen said. "Our job when the phone rings is to get people out. People will have more pressure about them, but that's what the game's about."

"We don't think about it," Isringhausen added. "We go about our business, and try to win ballgames, and when the phone rings, we gotta get ready. That's what we do."

Collins reiterated that the organization isn't waving a white flag by trading Rodriguez.

He said he isn't talking to the team about future moves -- possibly involving center fielder Carlos Beltran, Isringhausen or Byrdak -- because they "may not have any credence, so that's not going to be discussed."

"Sometimes you gotta deal with situations that are out of your control," Collins said. "There is personnel in that room that can get the job done and fill in for K-Rod, and those guys are going to have to rise to the occasion and pick it up."

General manager Sandy Alderson had previously said he would use the next two weeks to evaluate where the team is before he decides whether to buy or sell prior to the July 31 deadline.

Said starter R.A. Dickey: "If we want to give the front office a reason to move people, then they're going to move people.""

Collins said he spoke with Alderson before and during the team's recent road trip.

"He wanted to make sure that I understood that he did not want (future trades) to be something the players are thinking about," Collins said. "Has the front office given up? That's not the case. I don't think that's the case.

"Our players can't be worrying about stuff that's been written or talked about. They can only go out and play."

The Mets are currently 11 games out of first place in the National League East and 7 1/2 games out of the NL wild card.

Alderson was asked if there was a "magic number" of games the Mets would need to be trailing for him to become a full-fledged "seller."

"There's no magic number which makes us a buyer or a seller," Alderson said. "I think it's one of those things where we'll probably know it when we see it."

Mike Mazzeo is a frequent contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.