SAN DIEGO — Chris Flexen has come a long way since spring training, but he didn’t realize he would come this far this fast.
The Mets’ right-handed pitching prospect may be a prospect no more come Thursday night, when he makes his MLB debut in San Diego against the Padres in the series finale. But the way his year started, he didn’t think he’d be seeing the major league mound for quite some time.
He had a chance to see it during spring training when he was scheduled to make a start for the major league squad. It was his first big league spring training and he was eager to impress, but he injured his knee warming up for that start and Paul Sewald, who has been on the big league roster all season, took it instead.
Flexen had a bone chip removed from his knee and didn’t pitch again until making rehab starts in High Class-A.
“For your first spring training in the big leagues, I was pretty hurt about that,” Flexen said. “I was pretty bummed about that, but I bounced back.”
As down as he was in March, his emotions are about as high as they can get right now.
“It was pretty shocking, but I’m very excited,” Flexen said. “Luis Rojas, the manager in Double-A called me in and we had the conversation. I was shocked, I was stunned, I had a lot of emotions that day. But it’s an awesome feeling.”
Flexen said the word “excited” about 10 times, which is to be expected when a 23-year-old is realizing that his big league dreams are beginning to come true. But now the challenge is learning to manage those expectations so he can execute on the mound.
He was given advice from other big leaguers on how to do that, being told to stay confident and take in the whole experience, and it promises to be a memorable one, as several family members and friends will take the short flight from the San Francisco Bay Area to San Diego to be on hand for his debut.
Manager Terry Collins gave him the same speech he gives all new…