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Pedro Feliciano has died at 45

Feliciano pitched nine seasons in the majors, all with the Mets.

Kansas City Royals v New York Mets

According to a report from Eduardo Pérez, former Mets pitcher Pedro Feliciano died in his sleep last night. He was 45 years old. The team released a statement on Feliciano’s passing shortly after news broke.

Nicknamed “Perpetual Pedro,” Feliciano played a crucial role in the Mets bullpen in the mid and late 2000s as an effective left-handed specialist. He led the league in appearances in three consecutive seasons from 2008-10 and had his best year on the 2006 playoff team with a 2.09 ERA in 64 appearances.

The Dodgers first drafted Feliciano in the 31st round of the 1995 amateur draft, and after spending seven seasons in the minors he made his way to Queens via a trade from the Cincinnati Reds. He spent two seasons bouncing between the majors and triple-A Norfolk before the Mets sold his contract to the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks in 2005.

Feliciano returned to the Mets in 2006 and solidified his place as a crucial part of a highly effective bullpen. The team asked Feliciano to pitch out of many high-leverage situations against left-handed power hitters, a role he would dominate over the next few years, and the team rode his effectiveness deep into the 2006 playoffs. He would become a staple of the team’s late-inning relief plans over the next few years, especially against the divisional rivals Phillies and the likes of Ryan Howard and Chase Utley.

After a two-year stint with the Yankees in which he didn’t throw an inning in the majors due to injury, two minor-league contracts with the Cubs and Cardinals, and one more brief run with the Mets, Feliciano retired from baseball in 2015. Feliciano sits second all-time amongst Mets pitchers in games played behind only John Franco, and many Mets fans will remember him as a reliable pillar of an often unreliable relief corps.