By Ed Coleman
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Never let it be said that the Mets are lacking for drama. On an afternoon in which Johan Santana took another step toward Opening Day, the Mets announced that both David Wright and Tim Byrdak will be in New York on Monday to be evaluated at the Hospital for Special Surgery.

Wright pulled his left rib cage muscle during infield drills last month and has been held out of baseball activities since. He has taken grounders, but is not throwing or swinging a bat. Wright will receive an ultrasound-guided cortisone shot on Monday to see if that helps the healing process.

Byrdak has been bothered by knee irritation since the off-season. It’s not believed to be serious, but he will undergo further tests in New York to see if an arthroscopic procedure is either advisable or necessary.

The Mets have four other left-handed relievers in camp: Garrett Olson, Chuck James, Daniel Herrera and Robert Carson. They also have used and are high on Josh Edgin, but he has not pitched above A-ball to this point. Edgin has been called over from minor league camp and has appeared in two games thus far — saving both. He’s retired all five batters he’s faced, striking out three.

As for the ace lefty Santana, he pitched 2 2/3 innings against the Marlins on Sunday, giving up 2 hits, a walk and an unearned run. The run was charged to Santana after Chris Schwinden relieved him with the bases loaded in the 3rd and promptly hit Giancarlo (Mike) Stanton on the wrist with a pitch to force in a run. Santana’s base on balls was issued to Hanley Ramirez, the final batter he faced, a 4-pitch walk.

Santana threw his fastball in the high 80’s, and mixed in his signature changeup and slider more frequently than in his last outing. He got a swinging strike on Emilio Bonifacio with a nasty change. In all, Santana threw 42 pitches, just 22 strikes. Depending on how he feels this week, he remains on schedule to pitch against the Tigers in Port St. Lucie on Friday.

The Mets lost to Miami 4-2 in a game called after five innings because of rain. Reliever Jon Rauch had another rough day. He was tagged for 3 runs and 4 hits plus a bases-loaded walk in one inning of work. In his first appearance this spring, Rauch gave up 2 runs in an inning to the Cardinals. He bounced back to hurl 2 scoreless frames against the Marlins on Thursday, but after his work on Sunday, his ERA soared to 11.25.

Outfielder Adam Loewen continued to impress, going 2-2 including a double to jump his average to .429. Catcher Lucas May is batting .417 after doubling in 2 AB. Josh Thole had an RBI single. And Jason Bay finally got his first hit of the spring, legging out an infield hit to the shortstop hole. Bay also struck out for the 5th time in 10 AB and is hitting just .100.

The Mets will travel to Lakeland — a five-hour round trip — twice in the next three days. Jonathon Niese will go three innings against Detroit’s Duane Below on Monday.

C U soon
Eddie C.

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