By Ed Coleman
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Oliver Perez threw a bullpen on Friday at Mets camp, and now is scheduled to begin his lefty specialist role on Sunday, followed by another appearance on Tuesday after the club’s off-day Monday. Perez was originally scheduled to go against the Braves at Disney on Saturday, but that was re-arranged after Friday’s bullpen. Not that he had much choice, but Ollie has not fought the decision to go to the pen – he can deal with it whether he likes it or not.
And Perez added that manager Terry Collins has been up front with him from the beginning.
Speaking of re-arrangements, Pat Misch will now get the start on Sunday against the Cardinals at Port St. Lucie. Chris Capuano was originally slated to start, but Capuano will now relieve in that game. The Mets had discussed possibly using Capuano out of the bullpen instead of as a starter, and he has had mixed results thus far – 6 hits, including 2 HR, over 5 innings and some hard-hit outs. Meanwhile, Misch has been quietly effective, and probably translates better as a starter than a reliever. Outside of Tim Byrdak, who can get both righties and lefties out, the Mets aren’t thrilled with their options for lefty specialists – Taylor Tankersley has tanked so far, although he has struck out 8 in 3 1/3 innings – Mike O’Connor is a strike-throwing machine (who I like) but he has options left, and then there’s Ollie. It certainly bears watching moving forward. By the way, pitching coach Dan Warthen loves the way Manny Acosta (also out of options) has pitched during camp.
Jon Niese chalked up another impressive performance on Friday, hurling 4 2/3 innings of shutout ball against the Marlins. Niese allowed three hits, walked one, struck out 4 and lowered his spring ERA to 1.59. Niese is still trying to master a changeup, something that has eluded him, but he threw some good ones against Florida.
Niese threw about 10 changeups, and about 2 to 3 good ones.
RONNY PAULINO HAS ARRIVED IN FLORIDA!!! Well, almost. Paulino will show up at Mets camp on Saturday morning for his physical. It’s uncertain what the exact plan will be moving forward, but, yes, he does exist and he will be here.
The Mets made roster cuts on Friday, sending 11 players to minor league camp, the most prominent of which were Ruben Tejada and Fernando Martinez. Both players had good camps, especially Martinez who hit .364. But Collins wanted Tejada to play shortstop every day, and as for Martinez, he just really needs to show his durability.
The Mets clobbered the Marlins 10-0 Friday, thanks in large part to 5 Marlin errors. But the Met offense showed some life. Luis Castillo continued his resurgence with two more hits, a walk and two runs. Willie Harris also played second and had a hit. Angel Pagan went 2-2 with 3 runs scored. Ike Davis was 3-3 with a 2-run HR. Josh Thole also homered, and Brad Emaus came alive at the plate with a pair of hits. Five Met relievers finished off the shutout – closer Frankie Rodriguez pitched the 9th – he now has allowed just two hits over 4 2/3 innings with 5 strikeouts. On Saturday, the Mets will travel to Disney once again to take on the Braves. R.A. Dickey will face Tim Hudson – the game can be heard on WFAN.
C U soon