The 36-year-old recorded a pivotal out in his first game in the majors since Oct. 2, 2010, in the Mets' 4-2 win in 11 innings over the Kansas City Royals on Friday night at Citi Field.
The Mets promoted Feliciano from Triple-A Las Vegas before the game as fellow southpaw reliever Josh Edgin was placed on the disabled list with a hairline fracture of a left rib.
"I worked hard and I'm back here," Feliciano said. "Thank God I have another chance and happy to be here again."
Feliciano was in Nashville on Friday afternoon with the Mets' Triple-A affiliate when he received the call that he was needed in New York. He missed a 1 p.m. flight, but hopped on a 3:12 voyage. Feliciano arrived at Citi Field around the fourth inning and embraced his bullpen mates after walking out to the pen.
"Happy to see me. It's been almost three years I've been out of here," Feliciano said. "They see me back here and they get happy and I get happy, too. I start hugging everybody. Like a big family."
The reliever entered in a pivotal spot in the game, as the Royals had two men on with two outs in a 2-2 game. Feliciano faced lefty Alex Gordon, retiring him on four pitches. Feliciano threw three pitches in the mid-70s, and topped out on an 85-mph sinker.
"I saw the situation in the ninth, tied game, and they called back to the bullpen and called my name," Feliciano said. "I get a little pumped up and get ready to get on the mound."
It has been a long road back to the majors for Feliciano, who has pitched in the majors only for the Mets. He previously threw for the team from 2002-04 and 2006-10, earning a reputation as a workhorse. From 2008-10, Feliciano led the league in appearances each season, totaling 266, including a Mets record 92 in 2010. He last threw a pitch for the team on Oct. 2, 2010, against the Nationals. He entered Friday 22-19 with a 3.31 ERA in his career.
The southpaw signed a two-year, $8 million deal with the Yankees before the 2011 season, but he never threw a pitch for the crosstown rivals. He suffered a left capsule tear and had left rotator cuff surgery in 2011, and he couldn't make it back in 2012, pitching in 10 minor league games that year. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said in April 2011 that the Mets had "abused" Feliciano.
Feliciano signed a minor league deal with the Mets this offseason and dealt with a heart issue in spring training and food poisoning in April. He pitched well in the minors, throwing to a 1.29 ERA spanning 22 games in Class A, Double-A and Triple-A. The team previously indicated it wanted to make sure Feliciano could maintain velocity on back-to-back nights before recalling him.
Feliciano didn't have any doubts he'd make it back.
"As soon as I signed with the Mets in spring training, I know that I can make the team," Feliciano said. "They sent me back to get more strength. I never lost my mind that I'm going to be here again."
The veteran reliever replaces Edgin, who found out about the fracture after an MRI before Friday's game. Edgin said he had a little pull in his side, which he believed first flared up against Pittsburgh right before the All-Star break, but he managed it for a bit. After it felt a little worse following his last appearance against Miami on July 29, Edgin underwent the MRI, which revealed the fracture.
"It caught me off guard this morning," Edgin said. "I was thinking, 'All right, just take a couple days and get it healed back up.' I guess I found out otherwise."
Edgin said the fracture occurred on the eighth rib, and he doesn't know what caused it. He isn't sure how long he's going to be sidelined, but he has heard it could be as long as a month and a half.
Edgin is 1-1 with a 3.77 ERA and had allowed just two runs in his past 23 outings since being recalled from Triple-A on June 10.
"There's no real timetable. They don't know exactly how long," Edgin said. "I've heard four weeks. I've heard six weeks. You don't know how long it's going to take for a bone to heal."
The Mets were without Bobby Parnell on Friday as he missed his third straight game with a sore neck. Manager Terry Collins said Parnell has seen a doctor and received medication, and he will be re-examined on Monday. Collins said his closer will probably not pitch Saturday, and maybe Sunday as well.
David Aardsma, who served as Seattle's closer in 2009-10, blew the save Friday night. Aardsma attempted to record his first save since Sept. 19, 2010, with Seattle, but couldn't preserve a 2-1 lead.