Erickson hasn't pitched in majors since '02

Updated: July 15, 2004, 10:33 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- The New York Mets are leaning toward calling up right-hander Scott Erickson to start Friday night against the Philadelphia Phillies.

It would be Erickson's first major league appearance since Aug. 31, 2002, with Baltimore. He was scheduled to make his first career NL start for the Mets on April 8 at Atlanta, but strained his right hamstring while warming up in the bullpen.

Erickson pitched in the minors while rehabilitating his injury. He's 3-3 with a 4.50 ERA in eight starts at Triple-A Norfolk, but he's excelled of late. The right-hander went 2-0 with a 0.86 ERA in his last three starts for the Tides, spanning 21 innings.

"He's been pitching well, so it's time to give him an opportunity," manager Art Howe said Thursday. "You want to bring a guy up when he's going good."

If Erickson starts Friday, that would push right-hander Jae Seo back until Monday night against Florida. Seo has pitched well against the Marlins during his two-year career.

The Mets entered Thursday just two games behind first-place Philadelphia in the NL East-- and they hope the 36-year-old Erickson can help solidify the back end of their rotation. New York's No. 4 and No. 5 starters have been shaky all season.

"It could be a huge lift," Howe said. "He knows what it takes to win."

Sidelined by arm injuries in 2001 and 2003, Erickson signed with the Mets as a minor league free agent on Feb. 5 and was a non-roster invite to spring training.

He missed the 2001 season following Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. He sat out 2003 after surgery to repair a torn labrum.

Erickson's best season was 1991, when he went 20-8 with a 3.18 ERA and helped the Twins win the World Series.

In 11 seasons in the AL, Erickson was 140-128 with a 4.51 ERA for Minnesota and Baltimore.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press