MIAMI — Tylor Megill was playing catch in preparation for a scheduled Opening Day with Triple-A Syracuse when he got an unexpected message from members of the coaching staff: He was back with the Mets.
And so, Port St. Three days after saying goodbye to his Lucie teammates, the right-hander headed to South Florida Thursday night with another option.
Megill is the rotation replacement for Justin Verlander, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list after being diagnosed with a low-grade strain in the hamstring muscle near his right armpit.
The Mets co is expected to remain a catcher and will be reevaluated this week — likely skipping the Mets’ trip to Milwaukee and returning to New York ahead of the team, according to manager Buck Showalter.
Megill will get his first chance against the Marlins on Saturday. In taking over Verlander’s rotation spot, he also lined up to play Thursday’s home opener, also against the Marlins.
“You have so many emotions and so many things to say,” Megill said before the Mets’ 2-1 loss to the Marlins on Friday at loanDepot Park. “But things don’t change. You go up here and compete and do it to the best of your ability.’
The Mets didn’t see the best version of Megill at the end of spring training, as he struggled with his command while battling for a rotation spot to David Peterson.
Peterson won the job created by Jose Quintana’s absence as the left-hander recovers from rib surgery that will keep him sidelined for at least half the season.
“In (Megill’s) situation, he was doing some things to try to make the club,” Showalter said. “I think he is here now and will have the opportunity to work… it is more difficult to stay here than to get here. He’s very mature, both him and (Peterson). They understand what we are trying to do and where we are and what they need to do to be successful.
“(Megill) had it a little bit different than Max (Scherzer) or Justin said, and rightly so. He’s working on some things, but when the game starts he was a little disconnected in command, that’s not him, but he showed it enough. The first couple of starts I thought he had some really good ones and then some of the commands got a little away from him at the end.’
Megill was the Mets’ Opening Day starter last season and posted a 1.93 ERA in his first five starts.
But Megill suffered a lat strain that sidelined him and after his return was diagnosed with a shoulder impingement that kept him in IL until September.
On the way back they used it from the bullring.
Showalter was pleased with the depth of the rotation the Mets had to start camp with Peterson and Megill on standby, but now realizes the team is starting to suffer injuries with an unproven prospect like Joey Lucchesi or Jose Butto. .
The team recently signed Dylan Bundy to a minor league contract and is extending him during extended spring training.
Megill reported being significantly lower this year because of the added cardiovascular stress that facing the pitch clock would put on him.
Pitching coach Jeremy Hefner believes Megill’s weight loss may have been responsible for some command issues this spring as he learned to pitch in his new body.
And Megill said he is hopeful that driving in a game that counts can give him a boost.
“It’s really the thrills, the adrenaline, getting out there and competing,” Megill said. “I don’t think about my effort level. I go to them with all the intensity I can.”