Lefty reliever Josh Smoker has been optioned to Triple-A to free up a roster spot for Matt Harvey’s return from suspension. Harvey’s replacement, Adam Wilk, was designated for assignment yesterday when the Mets claimed Tommy Milone off waivers.
Smoker’s demotion comes as a bit of a surprise considering the other options that could have freed up space. Paul Sewald was the most recent call-up from Triple-A, and Rafael Montero has not been effective in his appearances this season. Montero is technically slated to start the series finale against the Giants, but after last night’s game Terry Collins seemed to be leaning toward giving Milone the start.
Sewald was a lifesaver on Sunday after a well-traveled Wilk did not have much of a chance against Giancarlo Stanton and the rest of the Marlins hitters. Sewald pitched three innings, struck out six, and gave up only one run in that appearance.
That might have been enough to keep Sewald on the roster, whereas Smoker’s recent work might have earned him a demotion. After winning a spot in the bullpen out of spring training, Smoker has struggled of late. In his last appearance on May 7 against the Marlins, he pitched a third of an inning and walked two batters. He currently sports a 7.88 ERA, a result of walking 10 batters and giving up 18 hits in 16 innings of work.
Smoker’s best performance came in the 16-inning marathon against the Marlins when he tossed three scoreless innings, but he has been unable to replicate that performance. Josh Edgin and Jerry Blevins are currently the more reliable left-handed options in the bullpen, so Smoker has become expendable, at least for now.