Bobby Parnell throws off mound earlier than expected

Bobby Parnell delivers a pitch in the ninth

Bobby Parnell delivers a pitch in the ninth inning of a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field on July 20, 2013. (Credit: Jim McIsaac)

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Closer Bobby Parnell surprised the Mets on Friday by throwing off a mound earlier than planned. On Monday, the rehabbing righthander intends to follow up with another light bullpen session.

"Every little step is progress for me and a little confidence-booster," said Parnell, who is working his way back from neck surgery. "To [throw] off the mound and to do that this early . . . is a big step for me."

Parnell's second throwing session likely won't be much different from the first, when he threw 10 pitches to a catcher who set up in front of the plate.

The Mets believe Parnell will be healthy by the start of the season in six weeks, though former closers Jose Valverde and Kyle Farnsworth have been brought in to camp as potential insurance options.

Honoring Kiner

The Mets intend to commemorate the late Ralph Kiner with a ceremony on Opening Day at Citi Field, where a logo honoring the original Mets broadcaster will be displayed on the leftfield wall.

A patch will be added to the Mets' uniforms this season to honor Kiner for the remainder of the season. The circular black patch will feature a microphone.

No closer to Drew

The start of spring training apparently has done little to bring the Mets closer to a deal with free-agent shortstop Stephen Drew.

According to a source, a significant gap remains in terms of both years and money, with the Mets hesitant to offer anything more than a one-year commitment. Drew turned down a qualifying offer from the Red Sox early in the offseason in hopes of landing a multiyear deal.

For now, the Mets intend to go with Ruben Tejada, who reported early to camp Sunday after spending more than eight weeks at a conditioning camp in Michigan.

 

Keeping tabs

Former All-Star closer Joel Hanrahan remains on the Mets' radar, though a source said the team's aggressiveness in pursuing the rehabbing righthanded reliever will depend upon how the team fares early in the season.

Hanrahan is working his way back from Tommy John surgery. Though he likely won't be major league-ready until May, he is expected to generate plenty of interest. Hanrahan recently threw a bullpen session before the Mets' scouts.

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