Danny Young of the New York Mets pitches during the...

Danny Young of the New York Mets pitches during the sixth inning against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field on Tuesday. Credit: Jim McIsaac

On the night before Edwin Diaz returned from the injured list, the Mets had a tough decision to make.

Which pitcher was going to get sent down to Triple-A Syracuse to make room for him before Thursday’s series finale against Miami? The leading candidates with minor-league options were lefthander Danny Young and righthander Dedniel Nunez.

Nunez went 2 1/3 innings and threw 29 pitches in Wednesday’s 10-4 victory over Miami. In the cold-hearted world of baseball transactions, that might have made him the one to get sent down because he will be unavailable to the Mets on Thursday and maybe even Friday after that long outing.

But the Mets wanted to reward excellence over workload. Nunez struck out five and didn’t allow a baserunner in those 2 1/3 innings. It continued a stretch of effectiveness from the 28-year-old, who has a 2.30 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 15 2/3 innings.

So after Wednesday’s game, manager Carlos Mendoza told Young to pack his bags, even though the 30-year-old has been just as effective as Nunez in fewer appearances. Young is 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA and 12 strikeouts in nine innings for the Mets this season.

“Not an easy one,” Mendoza said. “We knew going into the game (Wednesday) that we were going to be facing a pretty tough decision. But then watching Nunez, going multiple innings and the way he threw the ball, it's not easy to (send down) a guy like that that can give you multiple innings with a lead and continue to dominate.

“Obviously Danny Young, he's been great. He's a guy that not only gets lefties out, but righties, and his ability to take the ball day in and day out (is valuable). But he understood, obviously, where we were at bullpen-wise, with not many guys having options.”

 

The Mets’ record may not reflect it, but they have faced this type of roster conundrum a few times in the last few weeks. Is it possible the Mets have too many good players?

Catcher Luis Torrens and infielder Jose Iglesias, veterans both, earned continued big-league pay by impressing the Mets after they were added to the roster.

Torrens, 28, went into Thursday batting .313 with two home runs in six games. Iglesias, 34, was batting .435 in eight games.

Torrens’ performance cost Tomas Nido his roster spot when Francisco Alvarez returned from the injured list on Tuesday.

Iglesias, who was called up on May 31, has kept Brett Baty at Triple-A. Baty made his first career appearance at second base for Syracuse on Thursday in an effort to increase his versatility.

Mendoza keeps saying of Baty, “He’ll be back,” but it’s hard to see where that roster spot will come from with Iglesias thriving as a part-time second baseman sharing time with Jeff McNeil and Mark Vientos having secured the third-base job. Vientos went into Thursday with a .321 average and five home runs.

Christian Scott is another player whom the Mets consider a big-leaguer but are stashing at Triple-A. Scott, the righthander who turns 25 on Saturday, impressed in his first five major-league starts.

But with Tylor Megill and David Peterson healthy, the Mets are pitching Scott on a reduced schedule at Syracuse (60 pitches per outing) as a way save his pitches for future Mets duty.

As for Nunez, the Mets signed him way back in 2016. It took him until this season to make his big-league debut. Having a roster spot — and keeping it — means a ton to the older-than-normal rookie.

“Every day is a new opportunity,” Nunez said through an interpreter. “So even if you have success you have to go out that next day, and if you get that opportunity you have to take advantage of the opportunity because the day before doesn’t matter. That already happened.”

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