Mets reliever Rafael Montero pitched two scoreless innings this past weekend against the Marlins, allowing a pair of hits, while striking out three batters and walking no one.
"He's locating his pitches, that he hasn't done in the past," manager Terry Collins said, speaking about the difference in Montero's game this spring. "He works the edges of the plate, and this year he's catching those edges. He's starting to show us things we know he's got."
This spring, Montero, 26, has 20 strikeouts in just 13 1/3 innings, during which he has a 2.70 ERA.
"We've known that I get a lot of strikeouts and throw a lot of strikes," he said Sunday, when asked about his strikeout total. "I'm using the curveball in the dirt a lot and the fastball outside."
Montero has looked terrific, there's no question about it. But, I just have no good sense of how the organization sees him, especially after his bizarre 2015, when he seemingly quit when rehabbing from a mysterious shoulder injury.
I do think Montero is in the mix for a spot in the big-league bullpen, but the battle also includes Josh Smoker, Paul Sewald, and Ben Rowen. And, unfortunately for Montero, the Mets seem to really like having him in Triple-A, where they can keep him pitching every five days and turn to him for an emergency start or if they suffer a series of injuries like they did last year.
In the end, despite Montero's hot spring, and despite how well Sewald is pitching, I still believe the final spot in the bullpen comes down to Smoker or Rowen >> Read more here