By Ed Coleman
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The battle for the final spot – or spots – in the Mets bullpen is going down to the final days.

Jason Isringhausen and Blaine Boyer each threw scoreless innings in a 3-1 loss to St. Louis in Jupiter – and so did Taylor Buchholz, who has yet to give up a run this spring through 14 innings and 11 appearances.

By most projections, 6 of the 7 spots in the bullpen are locked up – closer Frankie Rodriguez, Bobby Parnell, D.J. Carrasco, Rule 5 draftee Pedro Beato, the lone lefty Tim Byrdak and Buchholz. That leaves Isringhausen, Boyer, Manny Acosta and Pat Misch all vying for the final spot.

Isringhausen is obviously the sentimental favorite, who knows that health is always an issue at his age.

But the way Izzy has felt this spring, he knows he can still get major league hitters out.

Manager Terry Collins was asked what Isringhausen could bring or mean to his bullpen.

And G.M. Sandy Alderson also feels Izzy’s experience weighs in his favor when comprising the mix in the pen.

Boyer is throwing the ball particularly well these days, and has given up just 1 run over 10 innings. As for where he’d prefer to be plying his trade this season?

Jon Niese started for the Mets in Jupiter on Sunday, went 5 innings and gave up 4 hits and 3 runs. He struck out three and his only walk was to opposing pitcher Kyle McClellan, but Allen Craig then followed with a two-run HR. Niese pronounced himself ready for the season.

He’ll face the Marlins and Ricky Nolasco next Saturday in game 2 of the season. McClellan, by the way, finished the spring with a 0.78 ERA to take the injured Adam Wainwright’s place in the Cardinals rotation.

Carlos Beltran again played 5 innings in right field in a minor league game in Port St. Lucie. Beltran went 2-5 at the plate and knocked in 3 runs. The next step will be determined on Monday, said Collins.

The Mets take on the Marlins on Monday in P.S.L. – Boof Bonser will get the start as R.A. Dickey – just back from the birth of his son – will face minor leaguers on a back field. Dickey will face Florida on Sunday in the opening series and thus wants to avoid facing them twice in a week.

C U soon
Eddie C.

Mets fans, pick one: Isringhausen, Boyer, Acosta or Misch. Make your case in the comments below…

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