NEW YORK -- The Mets used proximity to protect both their staff and an individual reliever on Saturday, when they optioned Josh Edgin down to Double-A Binghamton. The Mets moved Edgin to make room for starter Shaun Marcum, but they also did it to try to restore his confidence.
The left-hander has posted a 9.64 ERA in his first 11 games this season, and the Mets sent him to Double-A both to keep him close and to avoid the hitter-heavy lineups in the Pacific Coast League. Edgin, 26 years old, was told to keep his head up and work his way back to the Majors.
"If something happens, I want to be able to get him here fast," said manager Terry Collins. "I just said, 'Go to Binghamton. You're close. Go work and get your confidence back.' Again, that's what it's all about. When you're on that mound, you need to know you're going to make the pitch."
Edgin, selected in the 30th round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, has already beaten the odds just by making it to the Majors, and Collins thinks he can have a long career ahead of him. Edgin was given a trial by fire last year after southpaw Tim Byrdak suffered a season-ending injury.
And while that experience helped Edgin, it also served to pigeonhole him. Collins said that it's a tough adjustment for a young pitcher to become a situational southpaw, because he has to get up in the bullpen so often. Sooner or later, said Collins, that can begin to take a toll on your arm.
"I can only go on my experience of seeing a young pitcher who gets up and down that many times," he said. "It's just that their arm doesn't respond. They're not making the pitches. There's just not the crispness on the fastball, and I don't necessarily mean velocity. His velocity's been OK. ... We know it's still there, it's just that all of a sudden, that free-and-easy action and that confidence to make a pitch [is missing]. I just think there's some wear and tear on the arm after all that up and down."
That wear and tear is natural, said Collins, and it can disappear in time if Edgin is treated carefully at his next destination. Edgin made just six appearances at Binghamton last year before being promoted to Triple-A and then to the Majors, a fast track after dominance at the lower levels.
Now he's going in the opposite direction, but Collins said there's no reason to believe it will be permanent. The Mets still believe in Edgin, and they want him to share that belief.
"For the first time in his career, he's struggling," said Collins. "It's not that something's wrong with his arm. When you start struggling for the first time in your career, it gets in your head. The worst place you can send a pitcher who's struggling mentally is to [Triple-A] Las Vegas. Or Colorado Springs. Or Albuquerque, one of those places where you make a good pitch and the guy hits a two-run double."
Collins staying level-headed about new order
NEW YORK -- Terry Collins is nothing if not persistent.
New York's manager stuck to his guns Saturday, when he used the same batting order that netted three hits in a shutout loss to the Phillies on Friday. Collins credited opposing starter Kyle Kendrick for shutting his team down, but he said he can't allow that to interfere with his game plan.
Mike Baxter was batting leadoff again on Saturday, and Daniel Murphy and David Wright were batting back to back in the heart of the lineup. Collins said things will change in Sunday's series finale against left-hander Cole Hamels, but he wanted to give Wright another shot in the cleanup slot.
"We thought this out pretty good to try to get some guys on ahead of David," said Collins. "Giving it one night and then saying, 'Blow it up,' I don't like the way that looks. We'll try it again."
Wright went 1-for-4 on Friday night, and the Mets had just one runner reach scoring position against Kendrick. But there's reason to believe the new alignment can work. Wright has played in 192 games as a cleanup hitter, and he's batted .308 with 31 home runs and 123 RBIs in 730 at-bats.
The Mets grouped Lucas Duda, John Buck and former cleanup man Ike Davis in sequence after Wright, giving the team plenty of power to spare in the bottom part of the order. Now, said Collins, the key is to be patient and wait for Philadelphia's pitchers to make a mistake or two.
"You always hope somebody runs away with the job. On a daily basis, you put the lineup up there and say, 'I want one of those guys to step up and start mashing,'" said Collins. "That team over there, I know it's been a couple years, but they won five years in a row. They're pretty good. And [Kendrick] pitched a good game. It wasn't that we put the wrong guys in the lineup. He pitched a great game, and I'm not going to show panic by saying, 'Now we've got to change the lineup again.'"
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.