No one knows what the future holds for Jenrry Mejia, but with outings like Monday's, he'll force the Mets to find a role for him.
Mejia surrendered two hits and struck out three over 5 1/3 scoreless innings as Triple-A Buffalo bested Toledo, 2-1, in 10 innings.
Mejia, who underwent Tommy John surgery on May 16, 2011, walked one while tossing 43 of his 72 pitches for strikes. He did not allow a hit until Argenis Diaz singled in the fourth inning and departed in the sixth as he neared his pitch limit of 75.
"As a matter of fact tonight was one of the nights where he pretty much had a good feel for all his pitches," Bisons pitching coach Mark Brewer said. "He had a heavy sinker, his changeup was utilized to offset tempo, and after he established, he could throw the changeup over the plate at any time he had them on their heels."
Signed by the Mets as a non-drafted free agent on April 4, 2007, Mejia made just five starts for Buffalo in 2011 before suffering a tear in his ulnar collateral ligament. He made his 2012 debut on May 9 for Class A Advanced St. Lucie, and in six Minor League starts, he is 1-0 with a 2.97 ERA. Brewer thinks Mejia is nearing his pre-injury form.
"I think he's very close," Brewer said. "No one works harder than he does, I think the guy may come back the same, maybe even better.
"I've had a number of guys over the years that have had this surgery and what you do when you go through this rehab process is you learn a lot about yourself. You learn how your body works and you learn what you have to do to stay healthy. He's gone through it and he's a guy that there's no holds barred when it comes to work."
Mejia, once considered the club's top prospect, made his Major League debut in 2010, appearing in 33 games for the Mets, 30 in relief. Though the 22-year-old right-hander has spent most of his Minor League career as a starter, it's unclear at this time what his role will be long-term, though Brewer believes he's capable of taking on either job.
"I think it's up to [Mets manager] Terry Collins and [Mets pitching coach] Dan Warthen from a standpoint of what they need," Brewer said. "He's very versatile and he's able to slip into the bullpen and slip into the rotation."
Pedro Beato, on a rehab assignment, earned the win after tossing 3 1/3 hitless innings of relief. The 25-year-old right-hander has allowed just one run in nine innings since joining the Bisons on May 25. The extended relief appearance for Beato was not something that was planned.
"He was so efficient and his pitch count was so low. I looked him in the eyes and asked him how he felt and he said, 'Whatever you want I'm good, I feel great,'" Brewer said. "We ran him out there for one more inning, but we had Chuck James ready to go in case of anything."
Fred Lewis reached base twice and stole three bases for the Bisons, becoming the first Buffalo player to steal that many in a game since Trent Durrington on June 25, 2007. Rehabbing shortstop Ruben Tejada was hitless in three at-bats and started a double play in five innings in the field.
Justin Turner, the Tigers' top prospect, allowed a run on five hits while fanning three over 6 1/3 innings and did not figure into the decision for the Mud Hens.
Brad Eldred hit his Minor League-leading 22nd homer for Toledo.