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Jeurys Familia ready to pitch any inning Mets ask him to

Third in Mets history in saves, former closer wanted to return to team after being traded last season.

Mets relief pitcher Jeurys Familia against the Washington

Mets relief pitcher Jeurys Familia against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field on July 14, 2018. Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Jeurys Familia didn’t like leaving the Mets when they traded him to Oakland last summer. So his No. 1 goal this offseason was to come back, even if it meant as a setup man and not a closer.

Familia, who signed a three-year, $30-million free agent deal to return to the Mets, said on a conference call on Monday that the eighth is enough for him. Familia said he’s “excited” to be the prime setup man for new closer Edwin Diaz.

“He’s one of the best relievers in the game, the best closers,” Familia said. “It’s going to be fun.”

Familia has the third-most saves in Mets history with 123. He’s behind John Franco (276) and Armando Benitez (160). Diaz had 57 for Seattle in 2018.

“Honestly, I want to be a closer,” Familia said. “I mean, I’ve been a closer for a couple years. But at the same time, I want to come back to the Mets. I told my agent, if there’s any possibility of coming back . . . I’m here, and for me right now I want to be in whatever inning they want to put me in the game. I just want to win some games and have some fun here in New York.

“It means a lot for me because that’s where I grew up -- 12 years in the organization between the minor leagues and the big leagues. It’s like a family for me. That’s why I’m here today.”

Familia went 8-6 with a 3.13 ERA and 18 saves in 70 appearances with the Mets and A’s in 2018. All but one of his saves came before he was traded on July 21.

The Mets are planning for a bullpen that includes Diaz, Familia, Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo as the main men. New general manager Brodie Van Wagenen is searching for a lefthander, but said recently he doesn’t expect to pursue former Yankee Andrew Miller, who will likely command a hefty contract.

Familia joins Diaz, Robinson Cano and catcher Wilson Ramos as Van Wagenen’s major league additions so far this offseason. Ramos, 31, agreed to a two-year, $19-million contract on Sunday with an option for 2021 that could push the total value to $27.5 million and will be introduced at a Citi Field news conference on Tuesday. 

Ramos is expected to be the No. 1 catcher, with Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki still on the roster as potential backups, although one could be traded.

Ramos hit .306 with 15 HRs and 70 RBIs for the Rays and Phillies last season.

Familia is looking forward to throwing to Ramos, who has also played for the Nationals and Twins.

“I’m so excited,” Familia said. “He’s a really good catcher. I remember him with Washington. He’s a good piece, man. No doubt it’s going to be fun and it’s going to be a good year for us.”

The Mets also announced the signing of speedy veteran outfielder Rajai Davis to a minor-league contract on Monday. Davis, 38, will come to spring training and compete for a backup spot. The righthanded hitter batted .224 with one home run and six RBIs and stole 21 bases for the Indians in 2018.

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