Mets add Duane Below to lefty inventory

NEW YORK -- The New York Mets have signed left-handed reliever Duane Below to a minor league contract. However, Below did not receive an invite to big league camp.

Below, 29, has appeared in the majors with the Detroit Tigers and Miami Marlins. He went a combined 2-4 with a 4.27 ERA in 43 appearances (three starts) with those clubs from 2011 through 2013.

Duane Below

Duane Below

#64 RP
Toledo (AAA)

2014 STATS

  • GM22
  • W8

  • L5

  • BB41

  • K62

  • ERA3.70

Below spent last season working as a starting pitcher with Triple-A Toledo in the Tigers organization. He went 8-5 with a 3.70 ERA and had a 1.414 WHIP in 116 2/3 innings. Lefty batters hit .219 against him in the minors in 2014, while righty batters hit .306.

Although Below apparently will not be in the immediate mix, the Mets are searching for a second left-hander in the bullpen to reduce their dependency on Josh Edgin. Candidates include Rule 5 pick Sean Gilmartin, Scott Rice (who re-signed on a minor league deal) and farmhands Dario Alvarez, Darin Gorski and Jack Leathersich. Sandy Alderson has said if none is impressive, the Mets may not carry a second lefty to complement Edgin.

With Bobby Parnell slated to open the season on the disabled list while in the final stages of rehab from Tommy John surgery, there seemingly are five Opening Day bullpen locks: Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia, Vic Black, Carlos Torres and Edgin. If the Mets fail to trade Dillon Gee, he might occupy a sixth slot. The lefty reliever then would occupy the final slot, provided one proves capable.

If Gee is traded before Opening Day and/or the second left-hander does not impress, other bullpen candidates include Buddy Carlyle (also re-signed on a minor league deal) and farmhands such as Rafael Montero.

Although Below is not in big league camp, that does not preclude him from factoring into the mix at some point this season. Both Dana Eveland and Carlyle went straight to minor league camp a year ago and ended up having significant roles with the Mets as the season progressed.