Bob DeChiara-US PRESSWIRE
The Mets have signed right-handed reliever Scott Atchison to a minor league deal and have invited him to spring training.
#Mets signed RHP Scott Atchison to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league Spring Training.— New York Mets (@Mets) January 29, 2013
Atchison pitched for the Red Sox last year, and while he doesn't have great stuff, he does have terrific command and throws an awful lot of strikes. He features a fastball in the low nineties, a cutter in the mid eighties, and a curveball in the high seventies. He's thrown about twice as many strikes as balls over the course of his career and is a ground ball pitcher to boot.
Health-wise, Atchison suffered a partial UCL tear in his right elbow in the middle of last year, but doctors prescribed rest and rehabilitation — not Tommy John surgery, which might have ended the 36-year-old's career — and he returned to pitch at the end of the season.
He could have signed a minor league deal with the Sox, but Boston has a glut of quality relievers and Atchison, understandably, favored a surer path to a big league bullpen.
So how's the arm feeling?
"Other teams were kind of like, 'We're not that worried about it. He was throwing at the end of the year, everything looked fine and that's not really that big a deal, honestly,'" Atchison said. "It's more a situation that the team's in. ... Had no problems, everything feels normal, so I haven't had any issues. Obviously it is what is with the tear and stuff, but nothing that's restricting me. At the end of year, I felt great. I feel normal, and with another couple months of rest, it seemed to hopefully calm it down even more."
Moreover, Atchison has some extra incentive to make the Mets: His daughter, Callie, has a rare genetic disorder called thrombocytopenia-absent radius (TAR) which "manifests itself primarily in low platelet counts and absence of radius bones". Check that link for all of the details on Callie's condition; it's tough to come away from it without wanting to root even harder for Atchison to break camp with the big club this spring.