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Ex-Mets pitcher making surprise indy ball start, 8 years after retirement

Remember Nelson Figueroa? Brooklyn native, bounced around the big leagues for a decade, including a few years with the Mets. Also pitched in Taiwan and was a studio analyst for SNY.

Anyway, he’s now the pitching coach for the Atlantic League’s Staten Island FerryHawks. And on Tuesday, at the age of 48, he’s pitching for the FerryHawks.

Figueroa is making a spot start because the FerryHawks have a doubleheader Figueroa against the league-leading Gastonia (North Carolina) Honeyhunters. He has allowed three runs (two earned) on a handful of hits with three strikeouts through two innings. Figueroa’s last MLB season was 2011; he last played overseas in 2014. He looks pretty good; his breaking ball has movement and he seems to be hitting the mid-80s with his fastball.

It sounds like some independent ball chicanery led to Figueroa coming out of retirement. The FerryHawks appear to be the home team and the broadcast crew said the twin bill was not expected. It was apparently sprung upon the FerryHawks after they drove 10 hours south on Monday. Tensions were said to be high prior to first pitch. There are apparently less than 25 people in the ballpark despite Figueroa’s momentous return.

Former Mets star Edgardo Alfonzo is the FerryHawks’ manager. Former Amazins second baseman Dilson Herrera is also on the roster. As is Kelcie Whitmore, a two-way player and the first woman to play in the Atlantic League.

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James Kratch can be reached at james.kratch@xlmedia.com

James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.