Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Aaron Heilman to Join Mets Rotation

Aaron Heilman, 27, who chalked up a 3.17 ERA and 5-3 record with 5 saves in 108 innings for the New York Mets last year, is readying to report to the Mets spring training camp in Port St. Lucie, Fla., and transform himself from a bullpen specialist to a full-time starter. With camp set to open Feb. 18, time grows short for him to prove he is up to the task. Heilman's opportunity came when Chris Benson's spot opened with his trade to the Baltimore Orioles. Heilman owns a perhaps undeserved reputation as a prospective "phenom," as he brings merely good, not exceptional, skills to the game. The Notre Dame grad throws a low 90s fastball complemented by an inconsistent change and slider. But Mets management regards him as strong enough to hold down a spot at the end of the rotation, thus diminishing the team's need to sign veteran help such as free agent SP Jeff Weaver.