Thursday, March 24, 2011
#680) JOSÉ PARRA
José Parra came to the New York Mets organization when he signed a free agent contract on January 20, 2004. The right-hander had started his major-league career as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1995. Following a stop with the Minnesota Twins, he pitched for the Samsung Lions in Korea, and then the Yomiuri Giants in Japan. The Pittsburgh Pirates brought him back to the states in 2000, but Parra was in Taiwan throwing for the Uni-President Lions the next season. José was signed by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2002, but finished that year back in Korea with the Hanwha Eagles. The next season saw him back in Taiwan. So it is safe to say that Parra was a "well-traveled" pitcher prior to coming to New York.
The 31-year old reliever started the 2004 season with Triple-A Norfolk. After recording 16 saves as the Tides closer he was promoted to New York on June 19th. The Mets brought Parra in to switch roster spots with left-hander, Pedro Feliciano who was sent to Norfolk. José made his first appearance that same day in front of the Shea Stadium fans. He worked the first out of the seventh inning, but allowed two Detroit Tigers hits before John Franco ended the scoreless frame.
Parra did not allow a run in any of his first four appearances with the Mets and appeared to be headed to a more prominent role in the bullpen. José earned a long-awaited victory after throwing a hitless 11th inning in a 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on July 15, 2004. It marked his first victory in the majors since August 20, 1996.
Five days later the Mets acquired reliever Mike DeJean from the Baltimore Orioles. In need of a roster spot New York sent Parra to the disabled list even though he felt he was not seriously injured. José could not recall when he sustained the injury, but woke up around 5 a.m. with soreness in his right hip. He predicted that it might take him only two or three days to return. The Mets, however, needing the roster spot sent him to the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hip flexor. "It was surprising that he was hurt," said manager Art Howe. "It made it a little easier for us." José was moved to the 60-day disabled list on August 12th, and eventually released on November 9th. Leaving him with a 1-0 record and 3.21 ERA over his 13 career appearances for the Mets.
Parra returned to Japan after signing a contract to pitch for the Orix Buffaloes for the 2005 season. The New York Mets did resign him to a minor-league contract for 2006, but an elbow injury ended his career that spring.
José came home to the Dominican Republic and served as the pitching coach for the Detroit Tigers academy in that country. The academy is located in Loma de la Sueños, the facility owned by former major-leaguer, Jose Rijo.
José Parra signed his card in the set for my friend, John Guzman in the Dominican Republic during his trip there on March 10, 2011.