NEW YORK -- Relievers Bobby Parnell and Vic Black began Minor League rehab assignments with Class A Advanced St. Lucie on Tuesday, putting definite timelines on their returns to the Mets. Each pitched one inning, with Black allowing a run.
Manager Terry Collins said he wants to see both Parnell and Black pitch in back-to-back games, preferably more than once, before activating them from the disabled list.
"Their roles, and the jobs they're going to have to do to come up here, they're going to have to pitch two or three nights in a row," Collins said. "We've got to make sure those guys can get through those kinds of outings before they're ready to pitch up here."
Parnell, 30, has not pitched since Opening Day 2014. He learned the next day that he had a partially-torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, necessitating Tommy John surgery.
Though rehab rules dictate that pitchers may remain on Minor League assignment for 30 days, the Mets hope Parnell can return sooner than that. Upon his return, the former closer may compete with Jeurys Familia for saves.
Black, 26, should return even sooner than Parnell, considering his original goal was to make the Opening Day roster.
Posting a 2.60 ERA over 41 appearances last season, Black began experiencing right shoulder inflammation in early March. An MRI at that time revealed no structural damage in his arm.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.