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Farm Report: Logan Verrett journey ends where it started

The first draft pick of the Sandy Alderson/Paul DePodesta era with the New York Mets to reach the majors actually made his debut elsewhere.

After right-hander Logan Verrett went 11-5 with a 4.33 ERA in 28 starts for Triple-A Las Vegas last season but was not added to the 40-man roster, the Baltimore Orioles selected him in the Rule 5 draft in December.

Verrett -- a third-round pick in 2011 out of Baylor -- narrowly failed to make Baltimore's Opening Day roster, but was claimed off Rule 5 waivers by the Texas Rangers.

After making his Rangers debut in an exhibition game against the Mets on the eve of the regular season, Verrett made his major league debut on April 8 as a reliever.

A starter throughout his career, the 24-year-old Verrett ended up with a 6.00 ERA in four relief appearances before losing his roster spot when the Rangers needed to create room for the addition of Wandy Rodriguez. After a 10-day layoff while designated for assignment, Verrett was returned to the Mets on May 4 and assigned back to Las Vegas.

"It's been a bit of a roller-coaster ride," Verrett said. "I know it sounds cliché to say that, but it really has been. I've been with three teams in the span of five months. That's just a pretty crazy thing in itself. It was a great experience, and the Rule 5 really helped me out with my career a lot. It got my feet wet in the major leagues and helped me to realize I can succeed at that level. It gave me a little boost of confidence. Coming back here, it's got that taste in my mouth that I want to get back there."

Verrett grew up outside of Houston before moving to Corpus Christi for high school. So he rooted more for the Astros when younger. Still, he was elated when claimed by Texas once Baltimore began the process of sending him back to the Mets. He lives with his wife 20 minutes from the stadium in Arlington.

"It was a surprise," Verrett said about the waiver claim. "I didn't realize I had been put on waivers. So when they informed me I was claimed by Texas, that was a shock in itself. I was getting ready to either find out if I made the Orioles club or if I was headed back to the Mets. Finding that out was a bit of the shock. It was a bit of a dream come true. Living in Arlington with my wife -- our house is about 20 minutes from the stadium -- that was going to be pretty much the perfect situation. Unfortunately it didn't work out, but it was a great experience to get my feet wet.

"At the same time, playing in your hometown, there's a little bit of added pressure. You always have somebody at the game -- whether it's family or friends."

On facing the Mets in his Rangers debut in the exhibition game, Verrett added: "That was crazy because I hadn't started a single game all spring training. I hadn't gone longer than two innings all spring training. I found out the day before that I was claimed by the Rangers. I flew into town the next day. And that was the day of the game. I get to the field and they were like, ‘How do you feel about starting today?' … I didn't even really have time to process that I'm about to be in the big leagues and I'm about to start against my former team. It was a crazy situation, but it was fun."

Because he was working as a reliever since attending spring training with the Orioles, Verrett initially worked multi-inning relief with Las Vegas after rejoining the Pacific Coast League club.

With Duane Below needing to miss a start because of tenderness behind his left shoulder, Verrett broke into the rotation last Wednesday. He will remain a starting pitcher as Below returns, because the 51s are going from a five- to a six-man rotation. That will help conserve innings for the starting pitchers, particularly Steven Matz.

So far, Verrett is 1-0 with a 3.22 ERA in 22 1/3 innings with Las Vegas this season.

"With me hopping back into the rotation, I'm excited about that," Verrett said. "I feel like I've done well out of the bullpen and shown them that I can be effective. Now I can get back into the starting routine, which is what I've done my whole career, and what I'm very comfortable doing.

"It was a good experience throwing out of the bullpen and figuring out how that whole routine works."

ORGANIZATION LEADERS

Average: Jeff McNeil, St. Lucie, .333; Jonathan Johnson, Savannah, .326; Gavin Cecchini, Binghamton, .322; Travis Taijeron, Vegas, .303; Luis Guillorme, Savannah, .299; Michael Conforto, Binghamton, .298; Brandon Nimmo, Binghamton, .297; Jayce Boyd, Vegas, .295; Matt Reynolds, Vegas, .288; Wuilmer Becerra, Savannah, .288.

Homers: Alex Castellanos, Vegas, 11; Josh Rodriguez, Binghamton, 10; Travis Taijeron, Vegas, 10; Michael Conforto, Binghamton, 8; Wuilmer Becerra, Savannah, 7.

RBIs: Alex Castellanos, Vegas, 38; Matt Reynolds, Vegas, 37; Michael Conforto, Binghamton, 36; Josh Rodriguez, Binghamton, 33; Dominic Smith, St. Lucie, 31.

Steals: Wilfredo Tovar, Vegas, 15; Champ Stuart, St. Lucie, 14; Patrick Biondi, Savannah, 12; Jonathan Johnson, Savannah, 9.

ERA: Casey Meisner, Savannah, 1.82; Steven Matz, Vegas, 1.94; Robert Gsellman, Binghamton, 2.66; Luis Cessa, Binghamton, 2.81; Scarlyn Reyes, Savannah, 2.86; Brad Wieck, Savannah, 3.21; Rob Whalen, St. Lucie, 3.36; Miller Diaz, St. Lucie, 3.47; Martires Arias, Savannah, 3.55; Rainy Lara, Binghamton, 3.57.

Wins: Robert Gsellman, Binghamton, 6; Steven Matz, Vegas, 6; Casey Meisner, Savannah, 6; Scarlyn Reyes, Savannah, 5; Kelly Secrest, St. Lucie, 5.

Saves: Akeel Morris, St. Lucie, 12; Jon Velasquez, Vegas, 10; Paul Sewald, Binghamton, 9; Chasen Bradford, Vegas, 5.

Strikeouts: Steven Matz, Vegas, 75; Brad Wieck, Savannah, 74; Casey Meisner, Savannah, 55; Martires Arias, Savannah, 48.

SHORT HOPS

  • 2014 first-round pick Michael Conforto has been tearing up Double-A Binghamton since a May 30 promotion. In nine Eastern League games, Conforto is hitting .387 with one homer and eight RBIs in 31 at-bats. He also has walked nine times, for a .525 on-base percentage.

  • Second baseman L.J. Mazzilli made his season debut with the B-Mets on Saturday after five games with St. Lucie. Mazzilli began the season serving a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a drug of abuse.

  • Second baseman Jeff McNeil and right-handed closer Akeel Morris will represent St. Lucie in the Florida State League All-Star game. Conforto and right-hander Robert Gsellman also were selected, but have moved on to Binghamton. McNeil leads the league in batting average at .333, three points ahead of runner-up Alex Swim of Fort Myers.

  • Right fielder Wuilmer Becerra earned Player of the Week and right-hander Scarlyn Reyes earned Pitcher of the Week honors as Savannah swept the South Atlantic League's weekly awards. The 20-year-old Becerra, who was acquired with Travis d'Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard in the deal that sent R.A. Dickey to the Toronto Blue Jays, is displaying impressive power despite the spaciousness of the Gnats' home ballpark. He has seven homers in 198 at-bats. His .505 slugging percentage ranks second in the league.

  • The Gnats placed three players in the South Atlantic League All-Star Game, which will be played on June 23 in Asheville, North Carolina. Right-hander Casey Meisner, left-hander David Roseboom and infielder Jonathan Johnson will represent Savannah.

  • With a void at first base at Binghamton after the retirement of David Cooper, the Mets signed 31-year-old Brock Peterson to man the position for the Double-A club. Peterson appeared in 23 games for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2013, going 2-for-26.

  • The Mets are expected to lose a prospect from the 2014 draft in the coming days to complete the trade that sent Cory Mazzoni to the San Diego Padres for Alex Torres.