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Pedro Feliciano, workhorse Mets reliever, dies at 45

Mets relief pitcher Pedro Feliciano at Yankee Stadium

Mets relief pitcher Pedro Feliciano at Yankee Stadium on June 18, 2010. Feliciano has died at age 45. Credit: Christopher Pasatieri

Pedro Feliciano, a lefthanded bullpen stalwart for the 2000s Mets, died unexpectedly in his sleep Sunday night or Monday morning, a Mets official confirmed. He was 45.

The cause of death was not immediately known. He was at his home in Puerto Rico.

"The Mets are so saddened to hear of the loss to their family today," the Mets said in a statement. "Pedro Feliciano will be remembered as a beloved member of the Mets organization for his impact as a great teammate as well as his reputation as one of the most competitive, durable and reliable relievers during his time in Queens. Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Feliciano family. Rest in peace, Pedro."

Feliciano played parts of nine seasons with the Mets, totaling 484 games, second-most in franchise history behind John Franco (695). He had a 3.33 ERA and 1.38 WHIP.

His durability earned him the nickname "Perpetual Pedro." He led the majors in relief appearances in three consecutive seasons: 2008 (86 games), 2009 (88) and 2010 (92).

"I never had to look down to the bullpen to see if Pedro was ready," Willie Randolph, Mets manager from 2005-08, said in a statement issued by the Mets. "He was always on call and never said no. I know some days he was tired, but he always took the ball. Forty-five is too young. My thoughts are with the Feliciano family."

Omar Minaya, Mets general manager from 2004-10, said in the same release: "Pedro was a great teammate. He had a tremendous attitude and never said he couldn’t take the ball. It seemed like every time I looked down onto the field, Pedro was pitching."

Feliciano’s career included a stint with the Yankees, with whom he spent 2011-12. But because of injuries, he never pitched in a game for them. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman remarked in April 2011 that the Mets had "abused" Feliciano’s arm.

Feliciano returned to the Mets in 2013, pitching in 25 games, his last major-league appearances. He said in spring training that doctors had found a small hole in the exterior of his heart. He was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition called left ventricular noncompaction, caused by the failure of myocardial development from birth. Feliciano wore a heart monitor when he began pitching in exhibition games later that spring.

With AP

New York Sports