Mets ink reliever Hawkins to Minors deal

Veteran right-hander a strong candidate to make bullpen out of Spring Training

Mets ink reliever Hawkins to Minors deal
NEW YORK -- The Mets added another veteran reliever to their growing stable Thursday, inking LaTroy Hawkins to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training. The right-hander confirmed the deal on his Twitter account.

Hawkins, 40, posted a 3.64 ERA over 42 innings for the Angels last season, striking out 23 batters and walking 13. If he makes the club, he will spend time in the Majors for a 19th consecutive season, having also pitched for the Twins, Cubs, Giants, Orioles, Rockies, Yankees, Astros, Brewers and Angels since 1995.

Only three pitchers -- Jamie Moyer, Miguel Batista and Darren Oliver -- are longer tenured in the big leagues.

In New York, Hawkins should join newly acquired right-hander Scott Atchison as a bridge to setup man Bobby Parnell and closer Frank Francisco. Those four are favorites to make up the Opening Day bullpen, alongside left-hander Josh Edgin, perhaps one other lefty and a long man.

Other competitors for the Opening Day bullpen include right-handers Greg Burke, Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia, who are already on the 40-man roster, and left-handers Aaron Laffey and Pedro Feliciano, who are not.

Despite his age, there is reason to believe Hawkins can still be effective at age 40. Since his 35th birthday, Hawkins has posted a 3.38 ERA over 240 appearances with four different teams. His ERA+, an advanced statistic that normalizes ERA to account for ballparks and other external factors, has been well above average.

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.