NEW YORK—Righthander Marcos Molina impressed the Mets in spring training, but his momentum heading into 2017 stalled when he began the season on the disabled list with a shoulder strain at high Class A St. Lucie.
The Mets do not view the injury as significant and still hold high hopes for the 22-year-old who signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2012. He spent last season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.
Molina made seven appearances in the Arizona Fall League, where he recorded a 3.78 ERA with eight strikeouts in 17 innings.
Invited to big league camp for the first time, Molina displayed his full arsenal and earned solid reviews.
“I saw a kid who was 18 months out of surgery who has a great, deceptive delivery and an incredible work ethic,” Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen said. “The ball comes out of his hand with great movement, both cut movement and sink movement. He’s a guy who has a chance to be a real good major league pitcher. He’s got a good changeup and good slider, so the combination is not bad.”
Molina, who appeared in just nine games in 2015 before tearing his ulnar collateral ligament, is expected to rise quickly once he begins pitching for St. Lucie.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if you see him in (Double-A) Binghamton pretty quickly, and then once he is there he is kind of on the (big league) radar screen,” assistant general manager John Ricco said. “If he hadn’t had the surgery he would be at Double-A or Triple-A and kind of knocking on the door . . .
“The first look we got at him was in the (AFL). We were really happy with the way he was throwing the ball, and he came in and showed up pretty well in camp.”
Warthen would like to see Molina further develop his slider.
“I like his changeup a little bit better than his slider,” Warthen said, “but I think his slider is going to improve into being a plus major league pitch.”
NEW YORK MINUTES
• The Mets signed 30-year-old first baseman Cody Decker and assigned him to Binghamton. His .519 career slugging percentage leads all active minor league players.
• St. Lucie first baseman Pete Alonso, a second-round pick from Florida last year,suffered a broken left hand when he was hit by a pitch.
— Mike Puma covers the Mets for the New York Post