After injuring his right calf on July 1,
Alay Soler has just begun to work his way back into the major leagues.
2-3 with a 6.00 ERA in eight starts for the Mets this season, the young Cuban has shown flashes of brilliance, hurling a complete
game shutout against the Diamondbacks on June 10. Despite the early dominance, Soler’s season did get rocky, having
given up 16 earned runs in his last two starts against the Red Sox and the Yankees before the injury.
Making a rehab-start for the Mets Single-A
Affiliate, the Brooklyn Cyclones on August 22, his first start since the injury, Soler was just happy to be on the mound again.
“I felt really good; it was first
time I pitched in a month and a few days,” said Soler through a translator. “The most important thing is my health
and I felt fine out there.”
Amassing nine strikeouts in 4.1 innings
of work, Soler gave the Hudson Valley Renegades a little more than they could chew, overpowering the young Tampa Bay Devil
Rays Single-A team with his fastball and electric slider. The Keyspan Park Crowd of 7,103 also seemed to enjoy watching Soler
pitch, clapping faithfully after every K-victim made their way back to the bench.
While the minor league experience isn’t
new to him having played in the Cuban Leagues most of his career and in Double-A this season, Soler enjoyed pitching in Brooklyn.
“I liked the stadium and the energy
in here,” said Soler. “It’s a good place to rehab if you have to.”
Now with his first rehab assignment under
his belt, Soler is now scheduled to make his next start for the Norfolk Tides, the Mets Triple-A affiliate. Feeling no after
affects of the Calf injury that sidelined him for a month and a half, the 26-year old who the Mets signed as a free agent
in 2004 is ready to pitch again in the major leagues.
“I feel a hundred percent,”
said Soler. “I just have to concentrate on pitching and it’s up to the organization if they call me up so I can
is so determined to get back to the big club that he wouldn’t even rule out the possibility of pitching out of the bullpen
the rest of the season.
“I’ve done nothing but start
during my career,” said Soler. “But if that’s what the team needs from me, I’d welcome the opportunity
to come out of the pen.”