Ex-Met lefty Feliciano, led MLB 3 times in games, dies at 45

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK- Former New York Mets reliever Pedro Feliciano, who pitched so often he earned the nickname “Perpetual Pedro,” has died. He was 45.

Friends and former teammates told the Mets that Feliciano was found dead in his sleep Monday at home in Puerto Rico.

The left-hander led the majors in appearances for three straight years, pitching 86 games in 2008, 88 in 2009 and a whopping 92 times in 2010.

“I never had to look down to the bullpen to see if Pedro was ready. He was always on call and never said no. I know somedays he was tired, but he always took the ball,” former Mets manager Willie Randolph said in a statement.

Feliciano was 22-21 with four saves and a 3.33 ERA, all with the Mets, in a nine-year career that stretched from 2002-13. He pitched 484 games overall, second most on the Mets’ list behind John Franco’s 695, and worked a total of 383 2/3 innings.

“In all my years in baseball, I never saw a left-handed relief specialist have such a presence in the clubhouse. He had a great personality,” longtime Mets star David Wright said.

After going 3-6 with a 3.30 ERA in 2010, Feliciano signed a two-year, $8 million contract with the New York Yankees. But he never pitched in the majors for the Yankees because of shoulder trouble.

Feliciano returned to the Mets in 2013 and said in spring training that doctors had found a small hole in the exterior of his heart. He was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition called left ventricular noncompaction, caused by the failure of myocardial development from birth.

Feliciano wore a heart monitor when he began pitching in exhibition games later that spring. He went 0-2 with a 3.97 ERA over 25 games in his final big league season.

A 31st-round draft pick by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1995, he later pitched in the minors for Cincinnati. He was traded to the Mets in August 2002 in a deal that sent pitcher Shawn Estes to the Reds.

Feliciano played in Japan in 2005 and rejoined the Mets the next season. In 2014, he pitched in the minors for St. Louis and in the Puerto Rican winter league.

Padres claim 2-time All-Star catcher Gary Sánchez off waivers from Mets

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

SAN DIEGO — The scuffling San Diego Padres claimed catcher Gary Sánchez off waivers from the New York Mets.

The two-time All-Star was designated for assignment after playing in three games for the Mets. He went 1 for 6 with three strikeouts and an RBI, looking shaky at times behind the plate.

With the disappointing Padres (24-29) getting meager offensive production at catcher, they hope Sánchez can provide a boost. Austin Nola is batting .131 with three extra-base hits and a paltry .434 OPS in 39 games. His part-time platoon partner, second-stringer Brett Sullivan, is hitting .170 with four extra-base hits and a .482 OPS in 21 games since getting called up from the minors April 16.

Luis Campusano has been on the injured list since April 17 and is expected to be sidelined until around the All-Star break following left thumb surgery.

San Diego is responsible for just over $1 million in salary for Sánchez after assuming his $1.5 million, one-year contract.

The star-studded Padres have lost seven of 11 and are 3-3 on a nine-game East Coast trip. They open a three-game series at Miami.

San Diego becomes the third National League team to take a close look at the 30-year-old Sánchez this season. He spent time in the minors with San Francisco before getting released May 2 and signing a minor league contract a week later with the Mets, who were minus a couple of injured catchers at the time.

After hitting well in a short stint at Triple-A Syracuse, he was promoted to the big leagues May 19. When the Mets reinstated catcher Tomás Nido from the injured list last week, Sánchez was cut.

Sánchez’s best seasons came early in his career with the New York Yankees, where he was runner-up in 2016 AL Rookie of the Year voting and made the AL All-Star team in 2017 and 2019.

He was traded to Minnesota before the 2022 season and batted .205 with 16 homers and 61 RBIs in 128 games last year.

With the Padres, Sánchez could also be a candidate for at-bats at designated hitter, where 42-year-old Nelson Cruz is batting .245 with three homers, 16 RBIs and a .670 OPS, and 37-year-old Matt Carpenter is hitting .174 with four homers, 21 RBIs and a .652 OPS.