After pitching two innings in the Mets' 9-0 win over the Cardinals Wednesday, Bobby Parnell looked over to pitching coach Dan Warthen in the dugout. Warthen told Parnell to get ready for one more inning.
The Mets weren't just trying to save the other arms in the bullpen. Manager Jerry Manuel revealed after the game that the Mets were stretching out Parnell with the possible intention of using him as a starter.
Parnell threw 30 pitches in a career-high three innings and earned his first career save. (He also got his first hit, an eighth-inning single.) He has been used exclusively out of the bullpen in the big leagues, but that could change as soon as Monday in Arizona, when the Mets will need a replacement for Jon Niese.
"That is a consideration," Manuel said. "That was a part of the plan. That was part of why we did what we did today."
Of course, the Mets could also use Nelson Figueroa against the Diamondbacks. Figueroa pitched 4 1/3 innings of scoreless relief after he allowed 10 hits and six runs in 1 2/3 innings against Arizona on Monday.
The Mets had been cautious with Gary Sheffield's tender hamstring, even putting him on the disabled list against his wishes. So why did Manuel put him in the lineup after saying all week he didn't want to play the 40-year-old in a day game after a night game?
"He was very adamant about playing today," Manuel said.
Sheffield left the game in the sixth after pulling up at first on what should have been a double to the leftfield wall. He said he felt he avoided injury by stopping himself. "I was getting ready to turn it on and go to second," he said, "and I said, 'It's not worth it.' "