Paul Sewald answered the call.
No, literally. Sewald was in the Las Vegas 51s bullpen when the phone there rang Friday night. He picked it up and immediately was summoned to the dugout, his life about to change in a very big way.
“[I was like], that’s a little bit weird,” the newest Mets reliever said before Saturday night’s game. “I go down and P-Lo [manager Pedro Lopez] and Frank [Viola, the pitching coach], told me to pack my bags because I’m not pitching tonight and I’m going to New York.”
With Josh Edgin and Rafael Montero shouldering heavy workloads in the first week, the Mets designated Ty Kelly for assignment Friday and called up Sewald, who was one of the final cuts in camp. That puts the Mets’ bullpen at eight and whittles the bench to four, a move Terry Collins said he was more than willing to make.
“We can’t keep talking about the health of our pitching staff and not protect them,” he said. “We thought we’d bring up another guy . . . and there’s not a lot of pinch hitting being done. We think we can get by for a while with four guys on the bench.”
Sewald has impeccable command — Collins compared him to Dillon Gee in that respect — and pitched to a 3.29 ERA last year, allowing a hair under three walks per nine innings. He struck out 80 in 65 2⁄3 innings.
“It doesn’t matter what the count is, you’re not going to get a fastball, you may not get a fastball,” Collins said. “You’re going to get something else. I think he keeps the hitters a little off-balance because he throws a changeup or slider any count. He’s also a guy that can give us some innings if need be.”
Reyes sits; Flores in
Collins sat Jose Reyes in favor of Wilmer Flores against Marlins lefty Adam Conley on Saturday night. “I wanted to get Lucas [Duda] in there, I wanted to play Flo, so I thought, you know what? Jose is off to a rough start,” he said. “I’ll play Flo at third and let Jose have a moment to catch his breath because he’s going to be back there in the next three or four days.”
Reyes pinch hit in the eighth inning and struck out swinging.