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Anthony Kay Places Faith In His Changeup

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Lefthander Anthony Kay is responding to the challenges presented to him by the Mets before the season began.

As spring training concluded, Kay was told by assistant general manager Allard Baird to concentrate more on where he wanted to be in the future than just thriving at Double-A Binghamton.

"A lot of young pitchers have velocity and they have raw stuff, but what (Kay) showed was poise, the ability to control a running game and he showed a real quiet, stealth-like competitiveness out there,” Baird said.

"I think he stood out from there, so our expectations that we presented to him were that he needed to be putting himself in a position to be part of our major league rotation at some point and that should be his mindset and what he should bring to the ballpark every day. And he’s going about it with things that show up in his performance.”

Kay, a 2016 first-rounder from Connecticut, was among the biggest early-season bloomers in the organization. Through nine Eastern League starts he went 5-2, 1.07 with 52 strikeouts in 50.2 innings.

The 24-year-old Kay's hot start had fueled speculation that he might be called up to the Mets, who are short on starting pitching depth.

After missing the entire 2016 and 2017 seasons while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, Kay went 7-11, 4.26 with a 0.99 WHIP split between low Class A Columbia and high Class A St. Lucie last season.

"I give our development staff a lot of credit: they have really challenged him with usage of his changeup," Baird said, "and from all reports that has really come on well."

"In that next game we wanted more usage of it—and he threw 20 of them. And he used it left on left. So for a kid to take that plan, implement it, and put it right into play, it says a lot about him mentally, his maturity, and his ability to look just beyond the performance and look more, ‘What’s going to put me in the best position to succeed when I get to the big league level?’

"That speaks volumes about the kid.”

NEW YORK MINUTES

— The Mets traded Keon Broxton to the Orioles for $500,000 in international bonus pool money. The Mets acquired Broxton in a trade with the Brewers last offseason for minor leaguers Bobby Wahl, Adam Hill and Felix Valerio.

— After a sluggish start to the season, Triple-A Syracuse outfielder Tim Tebow hit his first International League homer on May 19. The former Heisman Trophy winner was batting just .157 through his first 34 games.

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