Owens, the hard-throwing closer who racked up 11 saves and a 1.08 ERA in 23 games for Binghamton before being recalled to the big leagues on July 6, left the Mets on Sunday and flew back to Broome County, gathering his belongings and awaiting word of his immediate future.
The 27-year-old Owens appeared in two games for the Mets and did much to show club brass that he – and his fastball, which regularly cracked 96 MPH on Shea Stadium's radar gun – may be ready for prime time.
He pitched again in the second game of a doubleheader the next day, firing two scoreless innings in a blowout 17-3 victory (including two walks, which were a good percentage as many as the eight he'd issued in 25 innings at Binghamton).
Of course, by that time in the July 8 doubleheader, Pelfrey was sitting on the Mets' bench, his once-jangled nerves calmed by the Mets' highest run total in a single game this year. Talk about your welcome receptions.
Though the 6-foot-7 Pelfrey wasn't exactly the most polished performer in his big league debut, the 22-year-old was passable in a 104-pitch outing that took him through five innings of Florida's lineup.
Pelfrey allowed three runs (two earned) in the start, walking four and striking out three, hitting one batter. He scattered five hits, working in and out of trouble.
The rap on the former Wichita State standout at Binghamton had been that his fastball – his first pitch also registered 96 MPH on Shea's radar gun – was more than major league ready, but that his secondary pitches were not.
"I know I can do better," Pelfrey said Saturday. "I don't make the decisions whether I should stick around, but I know I can do better."
Pelfrey is expected to stick in the Mets' rotation for one more turn after the All-Star Break. John Maine, who is 0-3 in three starts for New York this year, is the likely bet to return to Triple-A Norfolk.
State of the B-Mets: Binghamton will begin play on Thursday with a record of 42-46 (.477), tied with Connecticut for third place in the Eastern League's Northern Division. Portland is 10 games up on the B-Mets with a 52-36 (.591) record.
B-Mets leaderboard, offense: First baseman Michel Abreu's .335 batting average leads the Eastern League and is tops among any Mets farmhand with more than 100 at-bats … outfielder Jorge Padilla's .296 average ranks him fourth among that same group, trailing St. Lucie's Corey Coles (.325) and Norfolk's Jeff Keppinger (.300) … Jay Caligiuri's 12 home runs are second among Mets minor leaguers, trailing Hagerstown's Nick Evans (15) … Ambiorix Concepcion and Padilla are tied for fourth in the organization with 42 RBI, though Concepcion compiled most of those during his All-Star first half with St. Lucie … Concepcion and Carlos Gomez lead the organization with 19 stolen bases.
B-Mets leaderboard, pitching: Recent callup Michael Devaney, a Florida State League All-Star, leads the organization with a 1.49 ERA to go along with his 9-3 record. With Binghamton, Devaney is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in two games (one start) … Pelfrey's 2.45 ERA ranks him fourth in the organization … Owens' 11 saves are second in the system, trailing only St. Lucie's Carlos Muniz, who has 18 … Pelfrey leads the organization with 103 strikeouts. Hagerstown's Jonathon Niese is second with 95, while the B-Mets' Devaney is third with 93. Former Binghamton hurler Willie Collazo, now of Norfolk, is fourth with 86.
ON THE RISE
Pitcher Ivan Maldonado was a steady presence in relief for the B-Mets in the first half, appearing in 34 games and going 2-2 with a 2.06 ERA, prompting some to believe he has a bright future as a big league reliever. He was named to the Eastern League All-Star team as a replacement when Owens and Pelfrey had to back out due to their major league assignments.
Andy Wilson was also named to the All-Star squad due to his versatility (he has played catcher, first base and third base this year). But Wilson – who hit 28 home runs last year at St. Lucie – hasn't been quite the same offensive presence. The 25-year-old leads the B-Mets with 15 doubles, but Wilson is batting just .221 at the break.