Mets' Bobby Parnell plans to be ready to close by Opening Day

Bobby Parnell goes through pitching drills during a

Bobby Parnell goes through pitching drills during a spring training workout at Tradition Field. (Feb. 13, 2013) (Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa)

Mets closer Bobby Parnell said he has recovered from neck surgery and expects to resume his role with the team by Opening Day.

"I'm doing very well," Parnell said Thursday on a conference call from Port St. Lucie, Fla. "I've been cleared for baseball activities. I've been throwing for several weeks now, taking it nice and easy. I'm going to resume my baseball activities as far as lifting, throwing and running down here."

Parnell, 29, had surgery Sept. 10 to repair a herniated disc. The problem originally was diagnosed as stiffness during a series against the Marlins in late July. Parnell was given anti-inflammatories and an epidural, but the discomfort persisted, and he was placed on the disabled list Aug. 6. He had 22 saves and a 2.16 ERA (1.00 WHIP), with 12 walks and 44 strikeouts in 50 innings.

"I don't feel like there's any question that I will be ready," Parnell said. "I have not been sore after throwing. Only thing I'm going to take my time with is lifting weights and getting my strength back up. Right now I feel like my arm's strong, I feel like my body's put together. [There is] plenty of time between now and Opening Day to get healthy here and get into shape."

There were reports that Parnell lost a significant amount of weight, but he disputed that, saying he never went under 195 pounds. He said he is up to a desired 207 or 208. "I never got down to 170 or anything like [that]," he said.

If Parnell is not ready for March 31 at Citi Field against the Nationals, the Mets likely will turn to Vic Black, but Parnell doesn't think that will be necessary.

"In my head, I feel like I'm still the closer," he said. "Go along with that until told otherwise. I feel healthy. I feel like there's plenty of time to get into baseball shape, so I came down early to make sure I didn't have to jump into anything too hard and I can come down and take my time. So yes, still envision myself in that same role."

Parnell, who made $1.7 million last season, is eligible for salary arbitration. Figures are to be exchanged Friday. "I'm sure something will be resolved," he said. "I'm not concerning myself too much about it, letting the agents and front office deal with that stuff."

Cervelli, Yankees agree. Catcher Francisco Cervelli and the Yankees have agreed to a one-year, $700,000 contract. Cervelli was limited to 17 games last season. He broke his right hand April 26 when hit by a foul tip off the bat of Toronto's Rajai Davis and was suspended for 50 games on Aug. 5 after the Biogenesis investigation. -- AP

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