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Pitcher Jeurys Familia has makings of a late-inning specialist

Jeurys Familia follows through on his delivery in

Jeurys Familia follows through on his delivery in the ninth inning of a game against the Philadelphia Phillies. (Sept. 20, 2012) Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

ATLANTA - The progression is typical.

Pitchers who can't cut it as starters wind up as relievers. The better ones grow into roles in the back of the bullpen as setup men or closers.

This is the future that the Mets envision for righthander Jeurys Familia.

"If he came up with one more pitch he could throw over the plate, he could be a late-inning guy," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "Whether it's the closer or the eighth-inning guy, he's got all the makings of it."

Familia offered a glimpse of that potential Friday night when he picked up his first major-league save in the Mets' 7-5 victory over the Braves.

The Mets used closer Bobby Parnell to end a rally in the ninth, leaving Familia to close the game after his team took the lead in the 10th.

"They gave me the opportunity and I did my work," Familia said.

The Mets still considered Familia a starter when he was called up late last season. But since then, they have focused on converting the righthander into a reliever, hoping that he can enjoy success with his sinker and mid-90s fastball.


Game postponed

Heavy rain forced the postponement of Saturday night's scheduled Mets-Braves game at Turner Field. It is the Mets' fourth postponement of the season. The teams have yet to announce a makeup date.

The Mets bumped their rotation back a day. Lefthander Jonathon Niese starts Sunday's scheduled series finale against Braves righthander Tim Hudson.

The rainout also means righthander Matt Harvey will go a week between starts. With Thursday's day off, Harvey originally had been scheduled to pitch against the Braves Sunday with an extra day of rest. But with the postponement and Monday's scheduled off day, Harvey's next start is scheduled for Tuesday against the White Sox at Citi Field on seven days' rest. Harvey last pitched in Monday's marathon loss against the Marlins, when he threw a career-high 121 pitches.

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