It's only been two starts, but Jenrry Mejia is making the transition from a thrower to a pitcher.
The Mets prospect gave up three hits and struck out five over 6 2/3 innings Wednesday as the Buffalo Bisons blanked the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, 4-0.
Signed by the Mets as a non-drafted free agent in 2007, Mejia (1-0) has yet to allow a run in two starts this season, a span of 12 2/3 innings. He's yielded 11 baserunners while striking out 11.
"I've been able to recognize the importance of being a pitcher and not a thrower," Mejia said through pitching coach Ricky Bones, who served as his translator. "I've been able to mix the changeup with the curveball, and that's been key. The key has been able to mix my pitches and throw them for a strike."
Against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Mejia committed errors that helped load the bases in both the fifth and sixth innings. The 21-year-old right-hander escaped trouble in the fifth by striking out Major League veteran Greg Golson, then retired 2010 Eastern League MVP Brandon Laird on a fly ball in the sixth.
Mejia exited with two outs in the seventh, having thrown 64 of 101 pitches for strikes.
"I was able to throw all of my pitches for a strike," he said. "I was able to pitch ahead and change speeds. My changeup was my most consistent pitch in any count."
The native of the Dominican Republic began last season in the Mets' bullpen and went 0-4 with a 4.64 ERA in 33 games. He returned to the Minors to begin the transition back to starting and was 2-0 with a 1.28 ERA in nine outings. That included one Triple-A start in which he struck out nine and gave up a run on five hits over eight innings.
"In my mind. I've always been as a starter, but being in the big leagues I was able to make the adjustment and be ready to pitch when the phone rang for me," Mejia said. "It was great for me and I had a great time."
Considering his early-season success, Mejia has begun to weigh his chances of returning to Citi Field.
"For sure, I've prepared myself and I can't wait for it to happen," he said. "But I want to be 100 percent ready for when that happens."
Ruben Tejada, who also spent time in New York last season, went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored, while recently re-assigned Lucas Duda plated a run for Buffalo.