When Ryan Reid looks around the New York Mets’ spring training camp, he sees similarities with one of his former teams.
“We have a lot of good, young players in spring training,” said Reid. “It reminds me of some of the earlier Tampa Bay camps.”
Like in those other camps, with Tampa Bay and the Pittsburgh Pirates, Reid is trying to make the major league team. At 28 (he’ll be 29 in April), he is no longer one of the young guys. Of the 20 pitchers in camp, only six are older.
Reid, who was claimed on waivers by the Mets in December, has pitched in four spring training games, with seven runs allowed in 42/3 innings.
His chances of making the roster weren’t helped by Monday’s outing against the Miami Marlins, when he gave up six hits and four runs in one inning.
Reid went to spring training with hopes of making a major league opening-day roster for the first time. He’s trying to earn a spot in a bullpen that was among the worst in the National League last year with a 3.98 ERA.
“It’s been good,” said Reid when asked last week about spring training with his new team.
“It’s been a while since I’ve been in camp without having played winter ball. The past two years, I pitched winter ball in Venezuela. I would have two to three weeks before spring training.
“This offseason, I didn’t play winter ball and I had five months off, which allowed me to get an offseason training program in.
“I’m physically and mentally stronger than I have been in the past. I started back throwing in early December in Sarasota, Fla. My arm feels good. I’ve been able to be competitive in camp.”
Asked what his chances of making the team are, Reid said: “It’s way too early to know. I know where I stand physically, but that’s about all.”
How does Reid go about his business in camp?
“They tell me to jump, I ask how high? When they let me know what their plans are, everyone else will know soon after, what with social media,” said Reid.
Reid, a former Deering High baseball and football standout, spent seven years in the minors with the pitching-rich Tampa Bay organization before joining the Pirates last winter as a minor league free agent.
He was called up to the majors for the first time last June and pitched well in limited action with the Pirates, appearing in seven games and posting a 1.64 ERA with one save in 11 innings.
He was sent back to Triple-A Indianapolis in July, and spent the rest of the season in the minors, finishing with a 7-2 record, two saves and a 2.73 ERA in 591/3 innings.
Despite those numbers, the Pirates designated Reid for assignment in December, and he was claimed off waivers by the Mets, who are overhauling their relief corps.
“I found out two days before Christmas that I had been picked up by the Mets,” said Reid.
“The Pirates gave me the opportunity to pitch in the major leagues. This is the best-case scenario.”
Reid made his big league debut on June 3 against the Braves in Atlanta. He came in with two outs in the seventh inning with the bases loaded and got a groundout. He retired all three batters in the eighth on grounders.
“I tried to take deep breaths and keep it simple,” said Reid, who noted that his trips to winter ball helped prepare him for the majors.
“I had a really good experience pitching in Venezuela. I was in a lot of tight games and I learned how to control my heart rate and breathe. They have a lot of involved fans there. In Atlanta, it wasn’t as noisy as it gets in Venezuela.”
When Reid is pitching well, he keeps the ball down and gets a lot of ground balls. He throws a two-seam and four-seam fastball in the low 90s, along with a slider.
“I am trying to incorporate a change-up into my repertoire,” said Reid.
Reid said his Maine roots prepared him well for professional baseball while acknowledging that players from the Northeast have a disadvantage because of the climate.
“A lot of good baseball is played and taught in Maine. It’s not easy because a lot of it is being taught indoors. Baseball is an outdoor game, and that’s where you really learn how to play.”
Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at: