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Mets interested in Joel Hanrahan, Alderson says he's making progress

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The bullpen has performed well lately, but Hanrahan still remains an option for the Mets.

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Considering that the team just went through a closer switch, the Mets' bullpen is doing pretty well recently. The unit shut out the Braves for eight consecutive innings during Sunday afternoon's 14-inning 4-3 victory. Last night, another two-and-one-third scoreless innings were pitched by a trio of Mets relievers.

Still, the bullpen could stand to improve. That's why general manager Sandy Alderson is keeping an eye on Joel Hanrahan's workouts.

"The bullpen has been an issue for us a while," GM Sandy Alderson said Monday. "He's out there and is available, so why shouldn't we see how he's progressing?"

The Mets have already watched Hanrahan throw this spring, and the veteran reliever is throwing at around 93 miles per hour while being almost a year removed from Tommy John surgery. Hanrahan was the closer for the PIrates from 2011 to 2012. In 2011 he really flourished, saving 40 games with a 1.83 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. The next season, he still saved 36 games, but Hanrahan's command spiraled out of control; he walked 20 more batters in nine less innings compared to 2011.

After a trade to the Red Sox, Hanrahan tore his UCL early in the 2013 season and went under the knife. Even if he never regains the control he showed in 2011, he can be an effective reliever if he's able to get back to striking out more than a batter per inning like he did during his Pirates career.

When Mets dealt Ike Davis to the Pirates, it was being floated around that the $3 million they saved in the trade could be used to ink Hanrahan. For now, though, Alderson is going to stick with Kyle Farnsworth. The newest Mets closer has a 0.96 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in nine-and-one-third innings so far.

"We'll see how it goes with Farnsworth," Alderson said, "but I like the variety of options. In my view, we've got a lot of guys who are sort of on par . . . It's really about having enough good pitchers in the bullpen, and I think we're moving in that direction."

With players like Carlos Torres and Gonzalez Germen pitching as well as they are, the Mets certainly don't need to set their heart on just one guy.