Jeurys Familia snapped the silicone black bracelet he was wearing around his right wrist twice, back to back, while he was speaking. It was, perhaps, the only indication of the reality of the situation — that the Mets’ closer was addressing the media for the first time since his reinstatement from a domestic-violence suspension. That this sort of thing isn’t normal — or at least shouldn’t be — and that it might take time for things to be normal again.
Well, maybe not that long.
Hours later, he was on the mound Thursday night, pitching in a major-league game for the first time since last year. The remnants of the 24,656 fans in attendance cheered Familia, who labored through a 30-pitch ninth inning in a 6-4 loss to the Phillies. He walked two, struck out two and said the excitement of being back might have gotten the best of him for a second.
“I think I was overthrowing a little bit,” he said. “I think I got a little bit excited. I’m happy to be back. Other than that, I feel 100 percent, my body and mentally, too.”
So ends Familia’s 15-game suspension, the result of an October arrest for simple assault. Commissioner Rob Manfred did say evidence didn’t show Familia physically assaulted or threatened his wife. His suspension was shorter than Jose Reyes (52 games) and Aroldis Chapman (30).
“Rusty, to say the least” was manager Terry Collins’ appraisal of Familia’s outing. “Good velocity, good sink, just hasn’t been out there very much. You sit there and go, do you take him out or do you let him work? And I think we just had to let him work . . . He certainly needs to get out there more.”
Added Rene Rivera: “I think that being the first time out there, he was a little bit pumped. He wanted to do the best. He was maybe overthrowing the ball. After a few pitches, he came back and found the strike zone.”
Familia, a 2016 All-Star who earned a league-high 51 saves, said before the game he was “ready for whatever Terry throws at me.”
“I wouldn’t say I’m anxious in that sort of bad way,’’ he said. “It’s more anxious to get back in and help my team win. I can’t wait to get back on that mound and do my job so I can help this team win.”
When the Mets introduced Reyes last year, the reaction was decidedly mixed: There were cheers for the homegrown talent but there also were hearty boos from people disillusioned by what he allegedly had done. Familia said he would be unaffected because “I know how to control my emotions.”
Afterward, he said, “I feel happy. Definitely everything is good.”