TORONTO -- In desperate need of an extra arm as a safety net for their overworked bullpen, the New York Mets summoned Akeel Morris all the way from Class A St. Lucie earlier this week, in large part because he was on the 40-man roster.
Before returning the U.S. Virgin Islands native to the minors, manager Terry Collins decided to reward the 22-year-old Morris with a taste of MLB.
Facing the most vaunted offense in the majors, and lacking a feel for his changeup, Morris was roughed up by the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night at Rogers Centre.
He was demoted after the game with a 67.50 ERA (5 ER, 0.2 IP). That's the second-highest ERA in Mets history, trailing only Garrett Olson's 108.00 (4 ER, 0.1 IP), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Morris' demotion actually ends up being a promotion. After saving 13 games in 14 chances with St. Lucie while posting a 1.69 ERA, he will not return to the Florida State League club. Instead, he will report to Double-A Binghamton.
Manager Terry Collins said his message to Morris when he came to retrieve him on the mound was, "Get 'em next time."
Added Collins postgame: "And there will be a next time. He's got great stuff. I wanted to get him in the game while he was here. We're going to send him back, and the good news is he's getting promoted, which is great. But it's a great learning experience for him. The one pitch he's certainly known for, he didn't have any command of it tonight, and that's the changeup."
A member of the 40-man roster, Morris has the talent to return to the majors after more development. Still, he figures to be sitting with that 67.50 ERA for a while until he gets his next chance.
Entering with the Mets trailing 3-0 in the eighth, Morris consecutively walked Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista to begin his appearance. The Mets then failed to turn a seemingly routine double play on Edwin Encarnacion's grounder. Still, Morris did not help himself from that point forward. He eventually surrendered a three-run homer to Danny Valencia to cap the five-run frame and the scoring in Toronto's 8-0 win against the Mets on Wednesday.
Morris had allowed five runs (four earned) all of last season with Savannah, while compiling a 0.63 ERA in the South Atlantic League.
"It's what you dream of -- to get up there and pitch in the big leagues," Morris said. "... It didn't go the way that I drew it up. It happens. You shake it off and get back at it next time."