LAKELAND, Fla. - Mets reliever Bobby Parnell took one more step toward his return to full competition for the first time since Tommy John surgery.
In a minor-league intrasquad game on Saturday in Port St. Lucie, Parnell allowed two hits and threw 20 pitches, 11 for strikes.
Parnell had been scheduled for game action earlier in spring training but was delayed by a strained hamstring suffered during fielding drills.
To the left
First baseman Lucas Duda had been scheduled to play in a minor-league game on Sunday, where he could pile on the at-bats as a designated hitter.
Instead, Duda spotted a chance to do something to get better against lefthanded pitching. He lobbied manager Terry Collins to make the trip to Lakeland to face the Tigers and elite lefthander David Price.
"He came to me and said he wanted to face Price," Collins said after the Mets' 6-4 loss. "He says, 'If I'm going to face lefties, I might as well face the best there is.' I thought that was a great idea. That's why we brought him."
Duda finished 1-for-3 with a single and two strikeouts against Price. Later, he worked a walk. He's hitting .150 in six exhibition games after missing much of camp with a strained intercostal.
Utilityman Alex Castellanos suffered a bruised right foot after he was involved in a collision at first base . . . Righthander Zack Thornton tossed two innings of relief to lower his ERA to 1.29. Thornton is pushing for a bullpen spot . . . The Mets reassigned infielder Brandon Allen to minor-league camp . . . Collins said Ruben Tejada is a candidate to play second base if Daniel Murphy's pulled hamstring makes him unavailable for Opening Day. Daniel Muno and Matt Reynolds also are vying for the spot if it comes open.
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