Jose Butto embraces bullpen role for Mets, comes through in big spot of victory (2024)


WASHINGTON — Carlos Mendoza was already anticipating a phone call immediately following his postgame media session on Monday night.

The Mets manager had tried to avoid deploying Reed Garrett for the third time in a four-game span but could not avoid it. Left-hander Tyler Jay had added unexpected drama to the 10th inning in the series opener on Monday,

With the bullpen down one player due to Edwin Diaz's suspension and with injuries and innings mounting, Mendoza was ready for the roster move to follow Monday's win. The Mets' game of musical chairs within their pitching staff continued on Tuesday as Jose Butto was called up and Jay sent down.

"It's part of it. It makes this game fun," Mendoza said. "I think we're not the only ones. I think every team at some point is going to go through some adversity and be facing challenges like this.

"I just see that there's gonna be opportunity for a lot of people. Guys will continue to get the ball and guys will continue to get the job done."

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The Mets may have found an answer for their revolving door of a bullpen with a new role for Butto.

The 26-year-old right-hander excelled in his first action out of the bullpen of the season on Tuesday night, tossing scoreless innings in the eighth and ninth of a tie game and securing the win after the Mets exploded for five runs in the 10th inning in a 7-2 victory over the Nationals at Nationals Park.

"He threw 100 pitches like three days ago, so for him to come in that spot, high-leverage, tie game in the eighth and stay on the attack, throwing strikes, making pitches when needed, controlling the running game, giving Alvy a chance to throw that guy out at second base. We got two huge innings out of him when we needed it."

The Mets have officially brought in four new pitchers since Diaz was suspended 10 games for his sticky substance violation on June 25. There's another on the way on Wednesday as Christian Scott returns to make his sixth major-league start and first since being sent down to Triple-A Syracuse on May 31.

Butto and Scott have both spent successful stretches in the Mets' rotation this season. Now, they will be a key part the Mets' push in the second half.

Jose Butto shifts to the bullpen

Mendoza said the discussions began to occur about Butto's role after Diaz was sidelined.

The need intensified after news that Drew Smith would likely need Tommy John surgery and Sean Reid-Foley lingered on the injured list with a right shoulder impingement.

Butto, who was serviceable in seven starts this season, posting a 1-3 record with a 3.08 ERA and 1.13 WHIP, said he is ready for whatever opportunity comes his way at the major-league level.

"I think the biggest thing is the routine but also being in the bullpen and waiting and not necessarily knowing what situation you’re gonna come into," Butto said through Mets interpreter Alan Suriel. "I think those are the two biggest things, but at the same time, you have to be ready.

Mendoza said that the Mets still view Butto as a starting pitcher, but he is filling a massive need for the club at the moment. Last season, Butto pitched five innings out of the bullpen early last season, allowing four earned runs on three hits and four walks.

On Tuesday, Butto induced an inning-ending double play to work around an infield single. Then, after walking James Wood to open up the ninth, Alvarez threw him out attempting to steal. An error helped Nick Senzel reach base, but Butto shut the door by striking out Jacob Young.

"Multi-inning guy, whether it's if the starter goes down early or it's the middle innings or late in games, especially with where we’re at bullpen wise, but feel good with him back there," Mendoza said. "The one thing is just got to be mindful of giving him the proper time to get ready, so whether it’s coming in the middle of an inning, making sure we call down there early enough or if it’s a cleaning inning to make sure he goes to his routine."

Christian Scott ready for expanded workload

Scott is approaching uncharted territory as a starting pitcher.

After being drafted as a relief pitcher out of the University of Florida in 2021, the most innings that Scott has thrown in his career was 87⅔ innings across three minor-league levels last season.

The Mets are optimistic about the type of boost that Scott can provide during his second stint with the team coming up. Scott, who has thrown 70 innings between Triple-A and MLB, is ready for the challenge of increasing his workload.

"I’m ready to get the ball whenever they give it to me and go as long as they want," Scott said. "I’m excited to get the opportunity. Any time you can put a big-league uniform on and go out there and pitch I’m going to take full advantage of that opportunity. I’m excited for that."

In his first five games, Scott recorded three quality outings and posted an 0-2 record with a 3.90 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 25 strikeouts in 27⅔ innings. Mendoza said he was impressed with Scott's resolve when he did not have his best stuff on a given day.

"We just told him just continue to be you," Mendoza said of the demotion. "Maybe just the shape on some of his pitches and things like that, but nothing major. Just continue to go down there and get reps and that was all to it."

Jose Butto embraces bullpen role for Mets, comes through in big spot of victory (2024)
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