Mets manager Mickey Callaway said after Lugo's relief appearance in Tuesday's 7-4 loss to the Nationals that the right-hander could return on short rest out of the bullpen for his next Grapefruit League outing, Tim Britton of The Athletic New York reports.

Lugo was expected to compete for a back-end rotation spot with the Mets this spring, but with none of the team's preferred starting contenders enduring major setbacks on the health front, getting the 28-year-old stretched out hasn't been a priority for the team. After starting in his Grapefruit League debut Feb. 24, Lugo has come out of the bullpen in each of his last three outings, tossing no more than 20 pitches in any of those games. Like Lugo, Robert Gsellman also began the spring vying for a starting role before emerging as a long-relief candidate, and it appears the two could be fighting for the same spot in the Opening Day bullpen. The loser of the job battle will likely be optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas and transition back to starting duty.

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