NEW YORK -- Paul Sewald knew it was unusual when the bullpen phone rang in the early innings of Triple-A Las Vegas' game against El Paso on Friday, the voice on the other end telling him to come to the dugout. But he didn't realize quite what was happening until manager Pedro Lopez and pitching coach Frank Viola greeted him and told him to pack his bags. Sewald was headed to New York.
Half a day later, Sewald arrived at Citi Field as the Mets' eighth reliever. After relying heavily on their other seven bullpen arms throughout the season's first four games, the Mets decided to shore up their bullpen with an extra arm Saturday.
"We just said we've got to protect ourselves," manager Terry Collins said. "We can't keep talking about the health of our pitching staff and not protect them. So we thought we'd bring up another guy."
It was logical that the other guy would be Sewald, one of the last cuts from Mets' camp this spring. A former 10th-round Draft pick and childhood friend of Cubs star Kris Bryant, Sewald posted a 3.29 ERA as the closer at Las Vegas last season. Toward the end of the year, Sewald began focusing more on his slider, which he used to great effect in compiling a 2.51 ERA this spring.
"I did feel like I put myself on the map, and was hoping that I would give myself a chance to get called up at some point," Sewald said. "Five games into the season, I wasn't expecting that, certainly. But it was good. I got my one inning in Triple-A and now I'm ready to rock and roll."
To make room for Sewald on the active roster, the Mets designated utility man Ty Kelly for assignment. Kelly appeared in just one of the Mets' first four games, striking out in his lone plate appearance.
Things did not go much better for Sewald, who debuted in the eighth inning of a four-run game and allowed two more Marlins to score, giving up hits to each of the first three batters he faced. Yet the moment was not lost on Sewald despite his final line in the Mets' 8-1 loss to the Marlins.
"The results were obviously not what you wanted in a Major League debut, or any time you pitch," Sewald said. "But today was a dream come true for me. I've been working [towards] this goal since I could pick up a baseball. I'm a Major Leaguer. I'll always have that no matter what."
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.