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Jerry Blevins - Gets His First Major League Start

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  • Jerry Blevins - Gets His First Major League Start

    Jerry Blevins, Mets' Lefty Reliever, Gets First Career Start


    With Sunday’s scheduled starter Jason Vargas landing on the 10-day disabled list because of a strained right calf, the Mets turned to reliever and lefty specialist Jerry Blevins in their series finale against the Dodgers.

    It was the first start of Blevins’ 12-year major-league career.

    The Mets recalled righthander Chris Flexen from Triple-A to take Vargas’ roster spot, but manager Mickey Callaway opted to start Blevins instead to “maximize how we use everybody.” Flexen was in the clubhouse before the game.

    “It’s not just going to be Flexen going eight innings,” Callaway said. “So we’re going to try to line it up where we can maximize every one of our relievers.”

    Vargas was roughed up for seven earned runs in 2.1 innings Tuesday in Denver. The next day, the lefthander went through his standard post-start running routine. Late in the workout, Vargas took off on a sprint and felt a tweak in his calf.

    Vargas limited his workload over the next two days, and on Saturday, the Mets put him through some fielding practice.

    “But it just didn’t really respond,” Vargas said. “So I thought the best thing to do was to not take the chance of pulling something or doing something when you got to cover the base.”

    Vargas said he’s capable of pitching. However, he couldn’t perform the movements necessary to field his position without feeling pain. Callaway said the team thought Vargas “was going to be fine” until Saturday’s fielding session.

    “Throwing and doing everything you would need to do to just throw a pitch, it doesn’t really affect my calf that much,” Vargas said. “But when I would break to go and try and cover first base, it was definitely an issue yesterday when we tried to simulate what would happen in a game, so it probably wasn’t the best to take the risk.

    “It’s sore in certain movements. It’s more of like if you had to spring or hop off one foot or if you had to bounce around. It’s more of those type of movements, rather than static movement, where if I were to lift my leg and set it down to go throw or if I were to step and throw, I’m not really putting as much stress on it.”

    Vargas hopes to only miss one start. His placement on the DL is retroactive to June 20, so he’s eligible to return this Saturday, June 30. Vargas missed the first month of the season after breaking his glove hand in a spring training game.

    “Those are the types of things you have to be willing to take on when you play,” Vargas said. “You don’t want to think about things that could happen, but you’re playing a game, you’re putting your body through a lot, year in and year out, and things can happen.

    “So not necessarily frustrated about the things that have happened as far as with the hand or with the calf. Just being a competitor, you get more frustrated with gaining traction and really knowing that you’re going out there and giving your other teammates an opportunity to win. Those are the most frustrating things for players and for myself as well, is not the things that happen because you play the game, but your ability to really be a person they can count on.”

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