PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) — Carlos Zambrano wasn’t concerned with the results of his first start with the Miami Marlins.
The right-hander struck out four, but gave up three runs and walked three in 1 1-3 innings of Miami’s 5-4 win over the New York Mets on Thursday.
“Just an outing to build the arm,” said Zambrano, who was traded by the Cubs to the Marlins for fellow starter Chris Volstad in the offseason. “As spring training goes, it will be much better. I gave up three runs, but it doesn’t matter. It just matters that I need to work on my arm, my strength and my conditioning to be ready for the season.”
Former Mets All-Star Jose Reyes was not with the Miami squad that faced New York for a second straight day.
Zambrano was making his first appearance since Aug. 12, when he was ejected from a Cubs game against the Atlanta Braves after giving up five home runs. After being tossed, Zambrano cleaned out his locker and talked about retiring before being suspended without pay.
The three-time All-Star went 125-81 with a 3.60 ERA in 11 turbulent seasons with the Cubs. Eager to move on without him, the Cubs agreed to pay approximately $15.5 million of his $18 million salary this season.
“I don’t pay attention to that,” Zambrano said. “I just pay attention to — I’m on a new team, they love me here and I want to be here.”
Zambrano struck out the first two Mets batters he faced Thursday, but struggled with his control after that. Jason Bay was walked on four pitches. Ike Davis, despite falling behind 1-2 in the count, also walked. Zambrano got ahead 1-2 against backup catcher Lucas May, but he hit a two-run double into the gap.
“I was working on all my pitches,” Zambrano said. “In a normal situation, I would have pounded the strike zone and just do what I have to do. I walked two guys, but I was working on my pitches. The sinker was good today.”
While Zambrano liked his sinker, Mets starter Mike Pelfrey did not.
Pelfrey allowed four runs and six hits — including a solo home run to Austin Kearns and a RBI single to Hanley Ramirez – in 2 2-3 innings. Pelfrey walked one and did not have any strikeouts.
“The biggest thing early, I didn’t get ahead,” Pelfrey said. “It’s kind of hard to pitch behind in the count. The sinker today was moving, but (it was) almost going sideways instead of down. I didn’t think it was that good (of) a day and I had a hard time controlling. I fell behind in a lot of counts. Obviously I didn’t make pitches.
“I know there’s times where May wanted the ball away and I missed way in. He wanted it in and I missed away, so the command wasn’t good,” Pelfrey said.
NOTES: Former Mets shortstop Jose Reyes, who signed with the Marlins in the offseason, did not make the trip from Jupiter. . Michael Weiner, the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, spoke with Mets players on Thursday morning. . Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax was at Mets camp on Thursday morning. Koufax watched top pitching prospect Zach Wheeler in a minor league intrasquad game and also spoke with Mets relief pitcher Bobby Parnell about his delivery for a few minutes. . Johan Santana threw a bullpen session Thursday and said he felt no discomfort after throwing two innings Tuesday. Santana is scheduled to pitch against the Marlins on Sunday. . Relief pitcher Pedro Beato was diagnosed with rotator cuff inflammation and could start a light throwing program Friday. . Center fielder Andres Torres has a tight right glute and did not play Thursday. . Free agent pitcher C.J. Nitkowski, who has not pitched in the major leagues since 2005, worked out for the Mets on Thursday.
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