Jason Isringhausen returns to Mets

Updated: February 16, 2011, 9:32 AM ET
By Adam Rubin | ESPNNewYork.com

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Jason Isringhausen, who last pitched in the majors when he made nine appearances for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2009, auditioned for New York Mets assistant general manager J.P. Ricciardi at the team's Florida complex on Tuesday morning.

Later in the day, he agreed to a minor league deal with a big league invite.

Isringhausen, 38, originally was drafted by the Mets 20 years ago and pitched in the majors with the club from 1995 through 1999.

"We've got a history from Oakland, things like that," Isringhausen said, referring to his relationship with Ricciardi. "We've always been cordial friends. So I talked to my agent, my agent talked to J.P., and I just came down here and threw a little bit. All I need is a chance to throw in the spring somewhere."

Isringhausen said he previously auditioned with the Cincinnati Reds in Arizona and had an "open invitation" to sign there, although he was told he would not be promised many innings.

"I wanted to go somewhere and see if I could make a team," Isringhausen said. "So here we are."

Isringhausen, Bill Pulsipher and Paul Wilson were touted in the 1990s as the foundation of the next great Mets starting rotation, but injuries derailed that plan.

Isringhausen has had three major surgeries on his pitching arm, including Tommy John surgery after his short stint with the Rays.

After his Mets stint, he was able to resurrect his career as a reliever with Oakland and St. Louis, however, and has 293 saves in his 14-year career. He led the league with 47 in 2004 for the Cards. For his career, Isringhausen has a 45-49 record with a 3.60 ERA.

"He threw well. He looks like he's in good shape," said Ricciardi. "Obviously he's been throwing inside. So it's a different environment. It's probably 14 or 15 months post-op from Tommy John [surgery], which is a good time to look at someone. He threw the ball well."

Isringhausen said a return to the Mets would be special.

"It's hard to pass it up because this is where it all started," Isringhausen said. "Full circle."

Adam Rubin covers the Mets for ESPNNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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