PORT ST. LUCIE — Bobby Parnell expects to regain his job as the New York Mets' closer once his elbow has recovered from ligament-replacement surgery.
Parnell was ineffective in last year's opener, then had surgery April 8. He expects to start this season on the disabled list.
"I want to be there at the end of the game," Parnell said Wednesday after a bullpen session ahead of spring training. "That's my goal and that's what I'm aiming for. If I'm there at the beginning of the year and I'm hurting the team the first two weeks because I'm not ready and I'm not able to throw back-to-back days, what's the point of that? We've got guys that can throw at the end of the game all day long. We've got a great bullpen. I don't want to be a hindrance."
Parnell was 5-5 with a 2.16 ERA and 22 saves in 26 chances two years ago. In his lone outing last year, he gave a two-out, tying double to Denard Span in the bottom of the ninth as the Nationals rallied to beat the Mets in 10 innings. His fastball averaged 93 mph, down about 3 mph.
Jenrry Mejia eventually took over as closer and had 28 saves in 31 chances. Mejia said Tuesday he's not worried about his role.
"That's Terry Collins' job," Mejia said, referring to New York's manager. "That's not my job. I've got to be out there and do the best I can. Whatever Terry Collins wants me to do, I've got to do. I'll go out there. I'll go to the bullpen, throw the seventh, ninth, eighth inning — whatever they want me to do."
Parnell isn't sure when he'll be ready to join the big league team. He has thrown three bullpen sessions in the past two weeks and is scheduled to throw again Sunday. He threw a curveball off a mound for the first time Wednesday.
"I don't really want to know my time schedule," Parnell said. I just want to go from check mark to check mark, and the reason being is if I don't make a check mark, I don't want to be upset with myself and start pushing. I'm letting them make their decision off what they see.
"I feel great. I feel confident in the way I'm going. I feel like my time schedule is good."
NOTES: Loren "Bud" Collins, the manager's father, died Tuesday night at age 95 in Midland, Michigan, according to Mets spokesman Jay Horwitz. Terry Collins left Mets camp Wednesday afternoon and was traveling to Michigan to make arrangements. Mets pitchers and catchers are due to report Thursday. Horwitz did not know when Collins will rejoin the team.