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The Mets continue to monitor the market for left-handed relievers

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After losing Josh Edgin to Tommy John surgery, the Mets are currently in search of a left-hander out of their bullpen. Brian Matusz of the Orioles has been mentioned as a possibility for a couple of weeks now, but the club has cast a pretty wide net.

Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles reports that the Mets are keeping an eye on J.P. Howell, Paco Rodriguez, and Adam Liberatore from the Dodgers in case one of them becomes available. That’s no sure thing, as Howell is costly and he’s one of the only (healthy) locks in the Dodgers’ bullpen while Rodriguez and Liberatore still have options remaining.

Meanwhile, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York hears that New York is still intrigued by Rex Brothers from the Rockies. Brothers, who struggled to the tune of a 5.59 ERA over 74 appearances last season, was mentioned as a possible fit back when Dillon Gee was linked in trade talks with Colorado in December.

The Mets do have some internal options from the left side, but they aren’t pretty. Rule 5 pick Sean Gilmartin is still in camp, as well as non-roster invitee Scott Rice and minor leaguer Dario Alvarez. While a trade is a possibility, the Mets could see some names shake loose from other camps in the coming days.

Mets monitoring the left-handed reliever market

Josh Edgin
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With lefty reliever Josh Edgin dealing with elbow troubles which could result in Tommy John surgery, the Mets are keeping an eye on the market for left-handed relievers, ESPN’s Adam Rubin reports.

Rubin cites Sam Freeman of the Cardinals and Xavier Cedeno of the Nationals, both of whom are out of options with their respective teams. Freeman, 27, has a career 3.33 ERA and a 61/34 K/BB ratio over 70 1/3 innings. Cedeno, 28, has a career 5.19 ERA and a 50/22 K/BB ratio over 52 innings.

If the Mets decide to stay in-house for lefties, Scott Rice, Rule 5 pick Sean Gilmartin, Dario Alvarez, and Jack Leathersich are potential options.

Mets sign Duane Below

Duane Below Getty

According to Matt Eddy of Baseball America, the Mets have signed left-hander Duane Below to a minor league contract. Adam Rubin of ESPN New York notes that he will not receive an invite to major league camp.

Below previously appeared in the majors with the Tigers and Marlins, posting a 4.23 ERA over 40 relief appearances and three starts. He had a brief stint with the Kia Tigers of the Korea Baseball Organization in 2013. The 29-year-old mostly pitched as a starter last season with the Tigers’ Triple-A affiliate and compiled a 3.70 ERA and 62/41 K/BB ratio over 116 2/3 innings.

Josh Edgin is the lone lock as a left-hander in New York’s bullpen, so it’s still possible that Below will be considered this spring. Rule 5 pick Sean Gilmartin along with Scott Rice, Dario Alvarez, Darin Gorski, and Jack Leathersich are the other current candidates as second left-handers.

Terry Collins basically admits he overworked Scott Rice

Scott Rice

Last season Mets manager Terry Collins was criticized for overusing rookie left-hander Scott Rice, who appeared in 73 of the team’s first 137 games before needing hernia surgery in early September.

This season Rice is struggling and Collins more or less admitted yesterday that he thinks it’s because of the huge 2013 workload, telling Adam Rubin of ESPN New York:

The guy pitched in 73 games last year. And a lot of times the next year, when you pitch in that many games for the first time in your life, your arm doesn’t bounce back real fast. It takes a little time. I’ve seen it where, unfortunately, you’ve got to go through it.

That’s sort of a “hey, what are you gonna do?” response to a question that I’m sure Rice at least feels probably deserves more thought. With that said, Rice was a 31-year-old rookie who finally made the big leagues after 14 years in the minors and, based on his lengthy track record there, it’s possible that he’s simply a borderline major leaguer. We may never know for sure, though, because Collins rode him so hard right away.