NEW YORK -- New York Mets reliever Pedro Beato has not allowed an earned run in 11 innings as a major leaguer. And the product of Brooklyn's Xaverian High School is starting to get more responsibility, even if at 24 years old he still can be a little irresponsible.
Before Saturday's game, manager Terry Collins and players -- seemingly playfully -- led a search party through the clubhouse for Beato after he was nowhere to be found when the team was scheduled to stretch. Turns out, Beato was in a back room off the clubhouse with the team masseuse.
"That's the second time already," Beato lightheartedly confessed about being tardy for stretching with teammates. "I was just getting a massage, trying to get ready for the game. I'm going to carry a watch next time. Anywhere I go I'm going to carry a watch, so I won't miss it."
Collins showed supreme faith in Beato during Saturday's game, inserting him to protect a one-run lead in the seventh. Beato answered the challenge by retiring Gerardo Parra on a squibber in front of the plate, then striking out pinch hitter Russell Branyan and getting Chris Young on a flyout to left field.
The lone runs surrendered by the Rule 5 pick have been unearned -- two on April 7 at Philadelphia and one against Houston on Tuesday. As a result, look for more seventh-inning duty with a slim lead from Beato in the future.
"He's just pitched so good. I just said, 'He's the guy,'" Collins said. "He throws all of his pitches over the plate, like he did today."
Said fellow reliever Jason Isringhausen: "He's got a great arm. We just got to don't let his head get too high in the clouds and keep him grounded and let his body do the work. He'll be fine."
Unless lefties are due up and southpaw Tim Byrdak is used, Beato to Isringhausen to Francisco Rodriguez now appears the progression with a lead. It looked headed that way even before Bobby Parnell landed on the disabled list with numbness in his right middle finger.
Isringhausen worked a scoreless eighth Saturday for the second straight day. So Collins may stay away from the fragile 38-year-old reliever on Sunday, even in a similar circumstance.
"I probably won't use him tomorrow, but I'm sure he'll tell me he's fine, knowing him," Collins said.
Said Isringhausen: "I always want to pitch. I know what the safe thing is to do. But in the same sense, we've got to get the wins when we can. And I'd rather me be a part of it than somebody else. We'll just see how we feel in the morning."
Because Beato is a Rule 5 pick, he must remain at the major league level the entire season to become Mets property. Otherwise, he must be placed on waivers and offered back to his former club, the Baltimore Orioles. That's what just happened to fellow Rule 5 pick Brad Emaus, who was returned to Toronto after clearing waivers, then traded by the Blue Jays to the Colorado Rockies.
Unlike Emaus, Beato does not appear as if he is going anywhere. And he appreciates the faith from Collins.
"I feel more useful," Beato said. "I've thrown well thus far, and he's had a lot of confidence me. I've gone out there and got out without damage, or the minimum damage."
As for missing stretching, Beato added: "I don't know what I was thinking."