By Ed Coleman
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Ollie lives for another day.
Oliver Perez defied the odds and went out and threw two scoreless innings, allowing two hits, in a 3-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday. Manager Terry Collins told Perez earlier in the morning that he was starting the game instead of Chris Capuano, and the lefty said that helped his cause.
Perez is still not throwing anywhere near his old velocity – he was averaging around 84-85 MPH on the radar gun – but he threw strikes and varied his pitches.
Collins was asked if Perez can regularly get major league hitters out by throwing at that speed.
Closer Frankie Rodriguez made his spring debut, following Perez to the mound for the 3rd inning. He showed good command, giving up one hit and striking out one. Rodriguez usually makes about 5 appearances for 6-7 innings during spring training, but said this year you’ll be seeing a lot more of him.
Rodriguez is trying to win the trust of the Mets’ fan base back, and he realizes there’s only one way to do that.
The anger management classes he’s been attending really have seemed to help his attitude, and he said so far the fans’ feedback has been encouraging.
The subject of Rodriguez’ contract extension ($17.5 million next season if he finishes 55 games this year) has drawn much scrutiny – how will the Mets handle it if and when he starts closing in on the number. The closer himself continues to maintain that it’s the farthest thing from his mind.
Seven Met pitchers combined to 6-hit and shut out the Cardinals. In addition to Perez and Rodriguez, Jason Isringhausen, Boof Bonser, Taylor Buchholz and Capuano each pitched an inning while Jenrry Mejia threw two. Mejia, by the way, was scheduled to leave for the Dominican Republic on Friday to be with his mother who was slated to have surgery next Monday. However, that surgery was pushed back, so Mejia will remain in Florida for now. Collins has been extremely pleased with his pitching staff thus far, but would like to see the offense pick up things up a bit.
David Wright, Ike Davis and Daniel Murphy had RBI’s for the Mets – Davis and Josh Thole both had a pair of hits – Fernando Martinez went 1-2 to lower his average to .600 – and Ruben Tejada had another hit to boost his mark to .556.
On Friday the Mets travel to Jupiter to take on the Marlins. Chris Young will look to go three innings – he’ll be opposed by former Yankee Javier Vazquez, now back in the National League with Florida. Pat Misch, D.J.Carrasco and Manny Acosta also are scheduled to pitch.
C U soon
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