Mets opt for Las Vegas 51s pitcher Kevin McGowan

Updated August 13, 2017 - 6:50 pm

The New York Mets could have called up Gavin Cecchini or Matt Reynolds to fill the roster spot vacated by the trade of Neil Walker to Milwaukee on Saturday.

But instead of calling up an infielder, they instead went for a pitcher, leaving both Cecchini and Reynolds in Triple-A for now.

That pitcher was Kevin McGowan, who got the call for the first time and left the 51s in El Paso, Texas, to meet the Mets in Philadelphia on Sunday.

“Nothing can really describe it,” McGowan told “It hasn’t sunk in really.”

In his first season in Triple-A, McGowan was 5-4 with a 4.06 ERA in 62 innings pitched out of the Las Vegas bullpen and had emerged as a late-inning option for Las Vegas.

McGowan also made one appearance in Las Vegas in 2016.

Before the second half of the season, pitching coach Frank Viola said he thought McGowan would take a step forward.

“I think Kevin McGowan’s going to get better and better out of the bullpen,” Viola said in July. “I think he’s starting to gain some confidence and he’s starting to understand what pitching’s about, especially keeping the ball down in the zone.”

With McGowan’s promotion, four members who started the season in Las Vegas are now in the Mets bullpen — Erik Goeddel, Paul Sewald and Chasen Bradford being the other three.

In addition, Mets pitchers Rafael Montero, Hansel Robles, Josh Smoker and Steven Matz (rehab) have also spent time with the 51s this season.

Bradford sees success with Mets

Speaking of Bradford, the right-hander from Henderson has been pitching well since being recalled by the Mets, lowering his ERA to 3.86.

Since rejoining the Mets, he has a 1.13 ERA in five appearances.

Bradford has given up just one run in eight innings and pitched in back-to-back games Saturday and Sunday.

Upcoming at the Ballpark

The 51s will continue their eight-game road trip with one more game in El Paso before heading to Fresno for a four-game series.

They will return to Cashman Field for eight games beginning Aug. 19.

That day, they will give away Kris Bryant bobbleheads to the first 2,500 fans in attendance. It is the only bobblehead giveaway of the season.

More 51s: Follow all of our Las Vegas 51s coverage online at and @RJ_Sports on Twitter.

Contact Betsy Helfand at Follow @BetsyHelfand on Twitter.

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