By Ed Coleman
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Number 5 was back in his usual spot – third in the lineup and at 3B – and both he and the Mets couldn’t have been happier. The whole process felt pretty good to David Wright.

Wright accomplished a lot on Monday. He lined a sharp single to center in his first spring training at-bat, then grounded out to third in the 4th inning. He also made a terrific diving stop to rob Rafael Furcal of a hit to end the 2nd inning.

Wright – scheduled for an off-day on Tuesday – is in the lineup against the Atlanta Braves and will play for a second straight day. Jason Bay will again sit with a bruised forearm and should be good to go on Wednesday.

Wright has contended all along that he will be ready for Opening Day, but right now that’s the farthest thing from his mind.

Wright was originally going to make his debut Tuesday, but manager Terry Collins changed his mind for two reasons – the fact that Johan Santana was pitching and the speed of the major league game.

And for Collins, it sure was nice to see # 5 roaming around out there.

And speaking of the lineup, Collins is anxious to see the whole lineup from top to bottom together whenever everybody gets healthy.

Santana became a secondary story on Monday as he made his latest and last full start before Opening Day. And he had a tough beginning. Three of the first 4 batters he faced reached on walks and the other, Matt Holliday, had an RBI single. It was a rough way to begin.

It did get better. Santana went five, struck out 5, threw 88 pitches – 55 strikes – in all, and once again pitched inside effectively.

Santana will most likely pitch in a minor league game on Saturday as his final tuneup for the opener April 5 against Atlanta.

The Mets doubled up the Cardinals on Monday 6-3. Ramon Ramirez and Miguel Batista combined for 3 scoreless innings of relief. Daniel Murphy, Justin Turner and Vinny Rottino each had two hits, and Ruben Tejada added a two-run single.

The Mets and tall righthander Chris Young have come to terms on a minor league deal. Young – who made four effective starts for the Mets at the beginning of last season and then underwent Santana shoulder surgery in May – will be in Port St. Lucie Wednesday to be evaluated. G.M. Sandy Alderson commented on the signing.

Centerfielder Andres Torres is getting better and should be running on Tuesday. Tim Byrdak should throw off a mound Wednesday for the first time since undergoing arthoscopic knee surgery. And Chris Schwinden will start against the Braves on Tuesday as R.A. Dickey – who’ll face Atlanta in the second game of the season – pitches on the minor league side.

C U soon
Eddie C.

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