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Mets could turn to Jeurys Familia to close games

New York Mets relief pitcher Jeurys Familia delivers

New York Mets relief pitcher Jeurys Familia delivers to the Texas Rangers in the seventh inning of a game Friday, April 3, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. Credit: AP / Tony Gutierrez

WASHINGTON - Righthander Jeurys Familia will step in as the Mets closer. Well, sort of.

Manager Terry Collins said Wednesday that he may deploy one of his lefthanders when it comes to "certain situations" in the ninth inning.

"We'll piece it together," Collins said. "It depends on what the situation is going to be."

Collins offered an impromptu preview on Opening Day. The elbow tightness that eventually sent closer Jenrry Mejia to the disabled list also kept him from pitching in the ninth inning, with the Mets leading 3-1.

So Collins called upon lefty specialist Jerry Blevins to face the dangerous Bryce Harper. After getting a flyout, Collins then turned the reins over to Buddy Carlyle for the save.

Moving forward, it will be Familia taking the handoffs.

Familia, 25, posted a 2.21 ERA as the Mets' setup man last season. Although he dominated righthanders by holding them to a .134 average, lefties hit .293.

Nevertheless, Collins said he's comfortable turning most of the responsibility to Familia.

"He's made huge advances," Collins said. "Last year, I thought in the second half of the season, his confidence just soared each and every time he went out there."

Rubber-armed righthander Carlos Torres will function as the set-up man. Prospect Rafael Montero will likely taking on seventh-inning duties, despite his inexperience and a lack of certainty about how he will handle the role.

"I've got to find out," Collins said. "Can't wait 'til may. Gotta find out now."

Left out

In spring training, Collins insisted that first baseman Lucas Duda would not be platooned against lefties. But with the Braves scheduled to pitch two lefties against the Mets this weekend, Collins said Duda likely won't start one of the games.

Instead, righthanded-hitting John Mayberry Jr. will play in the outfield, with Michael Cuddyer moving to first base. Duda hit .180 against lefties last season while Mayberry hit .243.

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