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Mets ponder pulling Mejia from rotation, but right-hander reluctant to pitch out of bullpen

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NEW YORK, N.Y. - Jenrry Mejia's spot in the New York Mets' rotation is in jeopardy, but the young right-hander is reluctant to pitch out of the bullpen.

Manager Terry Collins said Saturday the team hadn't decided if Mejia, who is 3-0 with a 5.06 ERA, will start Wednesday against the New York Yankees. Collins said he and pitching coach Dan Warthen still had to discuss it with general manager Sandy Alderson.

"I'm OK with him being in the bullpen, but he's got to accept it if that's going to be the decision," Collins said.

"Certainly, we know he can do it and he knows he can do it."

Mejia got off to an excellent start this season but has struggled to get deep into games lately. New York needs help in the bullpen and has three touted prospects starting effectively at Triple-A Las Vegas.

"Jenrry's stuff plays. It's good enough," Collins said. "Where you get a little concerned is the excessive pitches that he uses to sometimes get some outs."

The 24-year-old Mejia said he's not sure if he would rather start in the minors or get bumped to the big league bullpen. After having two operations on his right elbow, including Tommy John surgery in 2011, he doesn't want to get hurt again.

"I'm worried about my arm. I want to have a long career. If they make that (decision), then it's going to be hard for me," he said.

"I always want to stay in the rotation," Mejia added. "I told him I don't know if there's going to be a point to be in the bullpen because I've already had two operations. ... If he calls me and says, 'Get ready,' it's going to be hard. But you know, whatever decision he makes, there's nothing I can do."

Mejia broke into the majors as a 20-year-old reliever in 2010 but was used mostly as a starter when he returned to the minors. After recovering from elbow trouble, he made five promising starts for the Mets last summer and expressed to the team his desire to be a starter.

He got his wish this spring and beat out veteran Daisuke Matsuzaka for the final slot in the rotation. Matsuzaka is now pitching out of the bullpen, a role that was unfamiliar to him before this season. But if Mejia is replaced in the rotation, it could involve a pitcher coming up from the minors, Collins said.

Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom seem to be the most likely candidates.

Mejia threw 101 pitches in 4 2-3 innings Friday night against Philadelphia, allowing two runs and six hits with three walks and four strikeouts. Montero, meanwhile, tossed 5 1-3 hitless innings for Las Vegas in a win over Salt Lake. He was pulled after 98 pitches.

DeGrom, who started Wednesday, is 4-0 with a 2.58 ERA for the 51s. Top prospect Noah Syndergaard was 4-2 with a 3.58 ERA going into his scheduled outing Saturday night. Montero is 4-1 with a 3.67 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 41 2-3 innings.

Moving Mejia to the bullpen would also help limit his workload this season, something the Mets plan to do one way or another after he pitched only 52 innings last year.

In other news, the Mets optioned backup first baseman Josh Satin to Las Vegas and called up Eric Campbell, who was hitting .355 with three homers and 24 RBIs in the Pacific Coast League.

"He brings us tremendous versatility," Collins said. "Outside of catcher and pitcher, this guy can play anywhere."

Campbell was in the original lineup at first base against the Phillies but was removed when Lucas Duda convinced Collins he felt well enough to play.

Duda sat out Friday night with food poisoning. He said he ate a hamburger that he thinks was undercooked.

Satin started at first base Friday and went 0 for 5 with two strikeouts. He was 3 for 28 (.107) this season with three RBIs, facing mostly left-handed pitching.

Collins said Campbell will start Sunday against lefty Cole Hamels. An eighth-round draft pick in 2008 out of Boston College, Campbell was set to make his major league debut.

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