May 23, 4:50 pm: Jose Valverde will be the team’s closer Friday, Terry Collins said, since Jenrry Mejia pitched back-to-back nights Wednesday and Thursday for the first time this season.
11:26 am: Mejia earned his second save of the season Thursday, while pitching on back to back days for the first time this year.
“It’s big for me, it’s huge for him,” Terry Collins said after the game. “The one thing he’s worried about is his arm.”
Collins said he does not intend to use Mejia on Friday.
“That this guy is healthy, that he knows he can go back to back nights, it can change a lot of things the way we shape our bullpen,” he explained.
Mejia has repeatedly expressed concern about pitching in relief, because he’s missed so much time during his career due to arm injuries. He’s already had Tommy John surgery, and missed time again last season after having another surgery on his elbow.
He is 1-0 with two saves in five relief appearances this season, during which he’s allowed no runs, walked nobody and struck out six.
Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
The team will have all eyes on Mejia when he gets to the ballpark on Friday. If he feels good, strong and still confident, it’s going to be a turning point in the direction of their bullpen. His stuff is so good in relief. He’s really good as a starting pitcher, don’t get me wrong. But, in short stints, as long as he has his command, he often looks unhittable. He’s ultra-competitive, so I bet he comes to love the power and ego that comes with being a dominant closer. Plus, he already has the impromptu, celebratory dance moves to put exclamation points on his outings.