Jared Hughes saves Mets from another bullpen debacle

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ATLANTA — Jared Hughes came sprinting from the bullpen before the bottom of the eighth inning and then took the shorter route, from the Mets dugout, for the ninth.

The two-inning stint for the reliever in his Mets debut lacked drama, which was the best result he could have hoped forMonday.

“This guy is a veteran,” manager Luis Rojas said after Hughes pitched two scoreless innings in the Mets’ 7-2 victory over the Braves. “You are thinking of a guy that wasn’t in camp with us, we didn’t see him in games, now you are going to see him in competition immediately. A good addition to the bullpen.”

Hughes missed camp after testing positive for COVID-19 and experiencing symptoms. He was added to the 30-man roster Sunday.

Mets' Jared Hughes (l) and Wilson Ramos
Mets’ Jared Hughes (l) and Wilson RamosGetty Images

Hughes entered after Justin Wilson had escaped Jeurys Familia’s bases-loaded jam in the seventh by retiring Freddie Freeman.


Michael Conforto was told in the dugout before the game that he was moving from cleanup to the No. 2 hole with Jeff McNeil sidelined. Conforto responded with a 3-for-5 performance.

“It’s not a big deal,” Conforto said. “Moving up in the lineup I was thinking I might get a fifth at-bat.”


Dominic Smith’s time with the Mets may have finally arrived.

With Yoenis Cespedes finished after opting out for the season, the vacancy exists for the 24-year-old Smith that had previously been nonexistent. Smith started in left field on Mondayagainst the Braves, but also factors into the DH mix. Smith is still Pete Alonso’s backup at first base.

“We were definitely looking to put Dom in there, whether it was in left, at first, DH and now it’s going to happen a little bit more,” Rojas said.

Smith spent most of last season coming off the bench because of an outfield glut, and even the addition of the DH to the NL this season hadn’t provided him much of an opening, with Cespedes’ return to the lineup.

Smith entered play with a .250/.375/.500 slash line with one homer and five RBIs in 16 plate appearances.

“You can count on a quality at-bat with him,” Rojas said. “Despite his young age we have talked about how mature he has handled the role of not starting every day and being ready when he gets the chance.”Right now he is getting the chance and we’re really looking forward to putting him in there any time we could.”


Ali Sanchez was recalled from the team’s alternate training site, giving the Mets a third catcher. Rojas said carrying a third catcher will provide a safety net in pinch-running for Wilson Ramos in the late innings.

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