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New season, new reality for Mets' Josh Edgin

Mets pitcher Josh Edgin throws a ball during

Mets pitcher Josh Edgin throws a ball during spring training baseball practice Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Photo Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - When the Mets made Josh Edgin one of the first cuts of spring training last season, the message delivered was about as subtle as a fastball to the shins.

The 28-year-old lefthander had pitched in a total of 68 games the previous two seasons, and players with his experience almost always get the benefit of the doubt. Not Edgin, whose diminished velocity prompted the Mets to send him to minor-league camp.

"It was kind of a reality check," said Edgin, who bounced back to turn in his best season in the big leagues.

Edgin's revival ranked as perhaps one of the most overlooked elements of the Mets' bullpen overhaul. While Jeurys Familia, Jenrry Mejia and Vic Black drew much of the attention, Edgin quietly established himself as a force. After earning a promotion in May, he pitched to a 1.32 ERA in 47 appearances and was slowed only by a bout of elbow soreness late in the season.

His re-emergence came at a pivotal time for the Mets. In spring training, he was jettisoned to create openings for Scott Rice and John Lannan, the two lefthanders who ultimately started the season in the bullpen. Neither finished the season in the big leagues.

One year after that setback, Edgin has arrived in Florida with an entirely different reality. The Mets easily could have stacked their camp with veteran lefthanders but declined to do so, a sign of their newfound confidence in Edgin.

The Mets might carry a second southpaw -- the competition involves Rice, Dario Alvarez and Rule 5 selection Sean Gilmartin -- but Edgin is expected to reprise his role.

Perhaps he might even expand it. Edgin fared almost as well against righthanded hitters (.219) as he did against lefthanded (.185).

"Yeah, it would be nice to face some righties now and then," Edgin said.

Manager Terry Collins viewed Edgin primarily as a lefty specialist. Whether he will change his stance this season remains a question.

Either way, Edgin wasted little time getting prepared for the season. Even though Thursday marked the official reporting day for pitchers and catchers, Edgin and his family arrived on Jan. 3. He joined a large contingent of teammates who participated in the conditioning program run by Mets consultant Mike Barwis.

"It doesn't feel like the first day," Edgin said. "But it kind of does."


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