Alex Torres

Texas Rangers v Oakland Athletics

Mets acquire lefty reliever Eric O’Flaherty from A’s


As announced on the official Twitter account of the New York Mets …

Alex Torres was designated for assignment to open a spot on the roster and in the bullpen for the new arrival. O’Flaherty owns an ugly-looking 5.91 ERA in 25 appearances this season, but the 30-year-old has held left-handed batters to a .186/.286/.209 batting line in 2015 and a .201/.266/.263 line for his career. The first-place Mets wanted a true left-handed specialist for the stretch run, and they found one with a crafty waiver trade.

Mets announce injury timetables for Travis d’Arnaud and Jerry Blevins

mets logo

The Mets won their eighth straight game Sunday against the Marlins improve to 10-3 on the year, but it came as a cost, as catcher Travis d’Arnaud and left-handed reliever Jerry Blevins were forced to leave the game due to injuries. Today we learned a little bit more about how long they’ll be sidelined.

As for d’Arnaud, he suffered a fractured right pinkie finger when was hit by a pitch yesterday. The Mets announced today that he’ll wear a splint for three weeks before being reevaluated. There’s a chance he’ll be able to resume baseball activities at that time, so that’s good news under the circumstances. Prospect catcher Kevin Plawecki is expected to get the bulk of the playing time behind the plate during his absence.

Blevins, who was hit by a comebacker yesterday, was diagnosed with a distal radius fracture of the left arm. He’ll wear a splint for six weeks and could resume throwing at that time. Still, it sounds like something that will likely keep him out of the mix for at least the next two months. The Mets are calling up right-hander Hansel Robles to take his place in the bullpen while Alex Torres and Sean Gilmartin will take on bigger roles from the left side.

D’Arnaud was hitting .317 (13-for-41) with two homers and 10 RBI through 11 games this season while Blevins had retired all 15 batters he had faced so far. Tough losses, both of them.

Mets add another lefty, acquire Jerry Blevins from Nationals

Jerry Blevins Nationals

Apparently the Mets were in the market for more than one left-handed reliever, because a few hours after acquiring lefty Alex Torres from the Padres they’ve picked up lefty Jerry Blevins from the Nationals in exchange for outfielder Matt den Dekker.

Blevins spent one season in Washington after coming over in a trade from Oakland, throwing 57 innings with a 4.87 ERA and 66/23 K/BB ratio for the Nationals. He held lefties to a .160 batting average last year, but has a 3.58 career ERA in 324 innings and has generally been effective enough versus right-handed hitters to be more than just a situational southpaw.

den Dekker is 27 years old and has hit just .238 with one homer and a .634 OPS in 80 games as a big leaguer, but he put up strong numbers at Triple-A last season and is a good defensive center fielder. Washington will be without both center fielder Denard Span and left fielder Jayson Werth to begin the season.

UPDATE: This, from Ken Rosenthal of, is pretty funny considering Forbes magazine just claimed the Nationals are worth $1.28 billion.

Mets find a lefty, acquire reliever Alex Torres from Padres

San Diego Padres v San Francisco Giants

It’s no secret that the Mets have been looking for left-handed bullpen help all spring and they’ve found their man, acquiring lefty Alex Torres from the Padres in exchange for minor leaguer Cory Mazzoni and a player to be named later.

Torres came to San Diego last winter from Tampa Bay in the deal involving Jesse Hahn, Brad Boxberger, and Logan Forsythe (among others). He posted a 3.33 ERA in 70 appearances for the Padres in a limited role, logging a total of just 54 innings with a 51/33 K/BB ratio.

Torres has a 2.55 career ERA in 120 innings and has actually held righties (.186) to a lower batting average than lefties (.216), so if the Mets can live with his shaky control he could find himself in more of a true setup man role. He’s not a great fit as a true southpaw specialist. At age 27 he’s making the minimum salary and under team control through 2019.

Mazzoni was the Mets’ second-round draft pick in 2011 and split last season between Double-A and Triple-A, making 14 starts with a 4.68 ERA and 75/20 K/BB ratio in 77 innings as a 24-year-old.

MLB approves new version of padded cap for pitchers

San Diego Padres v San Francisco Giants

MLB introduced a padded cap last season in attempt to protect pitchers from head injuries, but it was big and awkward and Alex Torres of the Padres was the only one who actually wore one. According to William Weinbaum of ESPN’s Outside the Lines, MLB has now approved a new padded cap with the players’ feedback in mind:

Pinwrest, the manufacturer, removed the padding from inside the isoBLOX cap it introduced last year in favor of detachable padding to wear over a standard cap. Patrick Houlihan, baseball’s vice president and deputy general counsel for labor relations, told “Outside the Lines” that all 30 teams were informed via email Friday afternoon that the new product passed independent laboratory testing.

“It’s ready for prime time,” said Bruce Foster, CEO of 4Licensing Corp, Pinwrest’s parent company. The revision, he said, addresses pitchers’ complaints that the cap with interior padding and an extended bill hindered comfort, depth perception and the ability to hold runners on.

The padding, which is secured to the cap by an adjustable strap, is made of “plastic injection molded polymers combined with a foam substrate” and is customized to match the colors and logos of each team. Foster said that the weight of the new cap and padding combination is “about the same” as last year’s cap. However, the new version increases padded coverage by about 20 percent to include critical areas like the temples. The new padding is expected to be made available to pitchers in spring training next week.

Protective headgear for pitchers is a work in progress and Houlihan acknowledged that they are open to alternatives to isoBLOX if a better solution emerges. Who knows if this new version will be more popular than last year’s, but it’s nice that pitchers have a choice and MLB is trying.