JUPITER, Fla. - Jenrry Mejia continued to build a convincing case that he should be on the Opening Day roster with three more scoreless innings in yesterday's 11-2 victory over the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium.
And once again, Jerry Manuel did nothing to downplay the hype. Mejia has allowed two singles in 5 1/3 innings with five strikeouts and no walks. When asked Monday where the 20-year-old rookie might fit with the Mets, Manuel cooed.
"Oh, man," he said. "I tell you, Mejia's No. 76, Frankie's No. 75, they might follow each other down there. That's what I'm trying to tell you. Oh my goodness. Very impressive. The stuff, right now at this stage, is dominating hitters."
Despite the high praise, it seems unlikely that Manuel would force-feed someone as young as Mejia into the eighth-inning setup role.
The next decision the Mets have to make, however, is how they plan to bring him along in spring training - whether to keep stretching him out or scale back his innings to make him a reliever at the major-league level.
Despite the GM's comments, Manuel indicated that he's not alone in his affection for Mejia. "We keep talking about it,'' he said, "so I think they can see some things."
Waiting on Reyes
Reyes was sent back north Saturday after the Mets' doctors became concerned about high levels of thyroid hormone that showed up from last month's physical.
Kelvim Escobar has been shut down from throwing after complaining of shoulder discomfort while playing catch last week. The Mets already figured Escobar would be unavailable for the start of the season, but this is a further delay . . . Fernando Tatis skipped the trip to Jupiter because of a sore left knee. He plans to be inactive for two days . . . John Lackey is scheduled to start against the Mets on Thursday when the Red Sox visit Tradition Field.