By HOWIE RUMBERG AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ The Mets called up right-hander Jacob deGrom from Triple-A Las Vegas on Tuesday, making him the first of several talented young arms expected to help solidify New York’s pitching staff this season.
DeGrom will work out of the bullpen even though he was 4-0 with a 2.58 ERA as a starter in hitter-friendly Las Vegas. The Mets placed reliever Gonzalez Germen on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to May 6, with a virus to make room for deGrom.
“We’ve been a little bit ridiculed at times,” manager Terry Collins said of criticism that the Mets hold back players in the minor leagues to gain extra time before the player reaches his arbitration years and then free agency.
“We’re worried about winning,” Collins added. “If that means we got to bring up a young player that people think you might bring up later in the summer but we’ve got to bring him up now to help, that tells us, or it should tell you, we are trying to win, and those are the guys we think we could win with.”
Elite prospect Rafael Montero was in the Mets’ clubhouse Tuesday, too. He will make his major league debut Wednesday against the Yankees at Citi Field.
“I just told those two kids in the room: There’s a reason why you’re here _ because you can play here. That’s why you’ve been chosen,” Collins said. “So don’t think you’ve got to do anything more than what got you here.”
The Mets’ ninth-round draft pick in 2010, the 25-year-old deGrom said pitching in relief during spring training helped him prepare for the new role. He has made 58 minor league starts without a relief appearance. He was a reliever in college at Stetson, but never worked out of the bullpen. He was the team’s shortstop.
Collins said he hopes to summon deGrom on Tuesday night, in the second game of the Subway Series at Yankee Stadium, but he will try to use him in a situation where there are no runners on base.
“Yeah, I’m going to be nervous but I’m ready,” the smiling, shaggy-haired deGrom said.
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