PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Sitting at home last summer, Jerry Blevins was not officially retired, but he wasn’t actively looking for a pitching job, either. He did some broadcast work for SNY. He did not throw. He did chase around his two young children.
And then, early in the offseason, the Mets called.
"Literally the only team I would’ve come back for was the Mets," Blevins, 37, said Sunday. "My body still feels great, I still have analytics that say my stuff is still the same, so I’m still good there, I still have that drive."
The lefthanded reliever, who has spent four of his 13 major-league seasons with the Mets, spent last spring training with the Giants but was released in March. When the Mets inquired, he didn’t immediately say yes.
"I didn’t know how my body would react," Blevins said. "I started working out, started throwing, and I felt better. That year off gave my body a chance to heal. So at 37, I almost feel like I’m in my late 20s again because my body, my arm feels so good. That’s when I said yes. When I felt like I could do it and handle it, that’s when I figured I’d give it a shot.
"[The Mets opportunity was the] perfect storm of having a chance to come to New York, where my family loved it, where my first son was born, and they’re a World Series competitor. It’s going to be tough to make this team, but I still feel like I have an opportunity to do that."
Blevins agreed to a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training in December. In camp, he is among many relievers competing for a couple of spots. If the Mets specifically want a second lefty out of the bullpen behind Aaron Loup, he is up against the likes of Daniel Zamora, Stephen Tarpley and Mike Montgomery.
If he doesn’t make the Opening Day roster, would he be willing to go to the alternate training site/Triple-A?
"I don't know," he said. "I'll cross that if it comes to that."
This spring training, he said, "has a different feel." He is enjoying the moment more.
"I still have that want," he said. "The same competitive drive — actually, even more so now because I have to win a spot, so I have to compete early. Instead of getting ready for April 1, I have to get ready for March 1. I’m just enjoying where I’m at and truly embracing it and trying to win a job."