Lofty praise, but when it comes to Mejia, the Mets aren't sparing any superlatives. In fact, they seem to be penciling him in for the Opening Day roster.
Mejia struck out four and didn't allow a hit in 2 1/3 innings Friday in the Mets' 4-3 loss to the Marlins at Tradition Field. "You see today, he's a major-league pitcher," Warthen said. "We have to see what happens over the next month."
Not only does Mejia's velocity stay consistently at 95 mph, but his fastball has a natural late cut that is murder on hitters.
Manuel has been excited about Mejia ever since his first bullpen session here. The manager said he wouldn't subject him to the pressures of the eighth-inning role, despite the team's need, but eventually could groom him for the job.
"Wooooo, man, oh, man," Manuel said. "The eighth inning would look pretty good for Mejia, wouldn't it? I like him a lot. For me, when you are that dominant, then you hope as you progress that you continue to see that consistency. What he has to do is prove that he can throw consistent strikes. If he can do that, he's got somebody fighting for him."
Mejia is not lacking in confidence, either. When asked if he can make the major-league team, he replied: "I think so. That is a dream come true."
Jon Niese continued to build his case as the fifth starter, striking out five in 2 2/3 innings . . . In Jupiter, Nelson Figueroa allowed one hit in four scoreless innings in the Mets' 7-3 win over the Cardinals.