Mejia talks strain; it's 4-man rotation now

September, 16, 2010
9/16/10
6:56
PM ET
Jenrry Mejia jogged outdoors Thursday afternoon at Citi Field and expressed satisfaction his injury was not serious.

Mejia, diagnosed with a strain of a rhomboid muscle in his right shoulder blade area, will not throw again during the remainder of the season. Mejia expects the injury will heal in time for him to participate at some point during the winter-ball season, for Licey in his native Dominican Republic.

Mejia, speaking in Spanish with teammate Angel Pagan acting as his interpreter, said he felt some discomfort in the back of his shoulder during the second inning of Wednesday’s start against the Pittsburgh Pirates. When the issue intensified during a third-inning pitch that he bounced to Andrew McCutchen, he needed to depart.

“It wasn’t a real bad pain,” Mejia said in Spanish. “I just wanted to be careful so I didn’t make it worse than what it was. It’s better to know it’s nothing that requires surgery or anything like that.”

Mejia confirmed this issue was different than the issue in the back of the shoulder that prompted him to be shut down for six weeks while pitching as a starter this summer for Double-A Binghamton. That injury, he indicated, was far more alarming.

“It’s just a matter of giving it the proper rest so I can get fully healed and go back to pitching,” Mejia said. “It’s nothing that worries me too much -- not like the first one.”

Mejia said he did not know a precise timetable for the resumption of throwing. He also said he did not feel alternating between relieving and starting contributed to his injury.

“Whenever an injury is going to happen, it’s going to happen,” Mejia said.

Jerry Manuel said he was unsure whom the Mets would eventually use to fill Mejia’s rotation spot.

The manager did suggest, though, that he preferred sticking with a four-man rotation for as long as possible. The Mets can accomplish that for a while because next Monday and Thursday are off-days. In fact, a fifth starter would not be absolutely required until Sept. 28 against the Milwaukee Brewers.

To compensate for Mike Pelfrey, Jon Niese, Dillon Gee and R.A. Dickey getting deprived of extra days of rest with four rotation members, Manuel indicated he may cap outings at five innings or 100 pitches to be safe late in the season -- at least with everybody but Dickey.

Eventually, though, the Mets would have to use Pat Misch, Raul Valdes or even Oliver Perez.

“We haven’t decided what we’re going to do with that spot,” Manuel said. “I don’t think we’ll need it for a while with the days off.”

As for Mejia, he pronounced his first major league season a positive experience.

“I feel good for the opportunity,” Mejia said. “I’ve always been a starter. Now, all of a sudden, I got here as a bullpen guy. It was kind of weird. It was doable for me. The team made the decision to put me back in the rotation and I just said, ‘Whatever role I’ll be ready for.’ And hopefully I can stay healthy.”

His plan is to win a rotation spot next spring training.

“I’m going to work really hard in the offseason so I can earn a spot in the rotation,” Mejia said. “I feel like I can be a starter in the major leagues.”
Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Daniel Murphy
BA HR RBI R
.289 9 57 79
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
WB. Colon 15
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187