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Bobby Parnell more confident with closer role

New York Mets' Bobby Parnell #39 walks back

New York Mets' Bobby Parnell #39 walks back to the dugout during a 2011 game against the Cubs. (Sept. 10, 2011) Credit: John Dunn

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- In a phone call last night, Mets manager Terry Collins informed Bobby Parnell of the news he'd shared on the radio earlier in the day. With Frank Francisco still dealing with elbow inflammation, the hard-throwing Parnell would take on duties as the Mets closer.

"I definitely appreciate that," Parnell said. "I think that him just coming out and saying it is going to help me a lot."

When Francisco ended last season shut down with elbow woes, Parnell impressed as his fill-in, capping perhaps his best season. Parnell finished 5-4 with a 2.49 ERA in 79 appearances, which included seven saves.

Parnell, 28, has moonlighted as the Mets' closer in the past,
admitting that he's put pressure on himself in those situations, which has contributed to spotty results. But he insisted that he's a different pitcher now that he's developed a curveball to pair with his fastball.

"I feel like every outing I increased my knowledge," he said. "I feel like I'm better prepared than I was."

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