Mets Make Room For Lefty Specialist Darin Gorski





NEW YORK—After an up-and-down season at Double-A, Mets southpaw starter Darin Gorski will receive an opportunity at big league camp this spring. But he'll likely be working as a lefty specialist in relief, manager Terry Collins said during the Winter Meetings in Nashville.

"He's got great numbers so far in the minor leagues when it comes to getting (lefthanded) hitters out," Collins said.

Gorski was one of six Mets added to the 40-man roster on Nov. 20. The highest-profile addition was righthander Zack Wheeler, the organization's top prospect. The other five were righthanders Hansel Robles, Gonzalez Germen and Greg Burke, plus shortstop Wilfredo Tovar.

Collins plans to use rookies Josh Edgin and Robert Carson as his main lefthanded relievers. Tim Byrdak will be back on a minor league deal, but he is recovering from anterior capsule surgery and won't be available before the second half of the season. The team also signed Scott Rice on a minor league deal.

The competition creates an opening for Gorski, a seventh-round pick in 2009 out of Kutztown (Pa.). He relies more on command and control than outstanding velocity from his 6-foot-4 frame and his changeup may be his best pitch. He won the organization's pitcher of the year award in 2011 after posting a 2.08 ERA and 140 strikeouts in 139 innings with high Class A St. Lucie.

The season came somewhat out of nowhere. And Gorski regressed in 2012, going 9-8, 4.00 with 118 strikeouts and 50 walks in 140 innings with Binghamton. He also proved susceptible to the long ball, yielding 20 home runs. But only one came against a lefthanded batter, which is why the Mets want to give him a shot focusing exclusively on lefty relief.

In that way, Gorski could mirror Carson, who struggled as a starter in Double-A in 2011, then reached the majors the next season as a reliever.

METAMORPHOSES

Jordany Valdespin, the talented but tempestuous utility man, was suspended two games in the Dominican League for disciplinary issues. Valdespin hit eight homers in 2012, with a few big moments as a pinch-hitter. The team likes his talent, but he's been disciplined multiple times for various offenses, like arguing with teammates or not running out ground balls.

• The Mets selected lefthander Kyle Lobstein in the Rule 5 draft, but promptly sold him to the Tigers. "We're happy to have Lobstein in the organization," general manager Sandy Alderson said after the draft, before the trade went through. "For the time being."