Tuesday, July 27, 2010
#643) PEDRO FELICIANO
Pedro Feliciano joined the New York Mets when he was traded along with Raul Gonzalez, Brady Clark and Elvin Andujar from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for Shawn Estes on August 15, 2002. The left-hander made his major-league debut days later at Shea Stadium on September 4th. He worked the final two scoreless innings of an 11-3 victory over the Florida Marlins. The rest of his appearances were not nearly as effective and he was returned to the minor leagues.
Pedro spent the next two seasons shuttling between New York and Triple-A Norfolk. New York pitching coach, Rick Peterson suggested he abandon his traditional throwing style and become more of a side-arm delivery in 2004. Pedro had also made another decision. His contract was sold by the Mets to the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of the Japanese League on January 21, 2005. As a reliever in Japan his workload dramatically increased. "It was crazy," Feliciano said. "I had never thrown that much in my life." The daily 25-pitch bullpen sessions improved his arm strength and durability. Techniques he learned in Japan changed his warmup routine and led to increased flexibility. After a season with the Hawks he returned to New York a changed pitcher.
Feliciano established himself as the left-handed specialist for the Mets in 2006. The ability of his slider to do more than just that was obvious. "When you talk about relievers in baseball, in my mind, he's at the top because he can get out both lefties and righties," Mets General Manager Omar Minaya praised in 2007. Without fanfare he became an essential part of the team's bullpen. His durability allowed him to establish a team record of game appearances for a pitcher, with 86 in 2008, during the final season of Shea Stadium. "I'm still working," Feliciano offered. "I'm not perfect yet."
Pedro Feliciano signed his card in the set for me before the New York Mets and Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field on August 29, 2009.