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Brought in with men on base, Mejia struggles

New York Mets relief pitcher Jennry Mejia throws

New York Mets relief pitcher Jennry Mejia throws to the Minnesota Twins in the ninth inning of the spring training baseball game. (March 19, 2010) Photo Credit: AP

JUPITER, Fla. - Jenrry Mejia had what could be considered the first blip on his quest to go north with the Mets as a member of their bullpen.

The 20-year-old was given a tough assignment - and one that was completely new to him - in the third inning of Friday's exhibition game against the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium.

Mejia, who had been scheduled for a two-inning outing, instead relieved Nelson Figueroa with the bases loaded and two outs in the third. It was an interesting test for Mejia, who never before had entered a game in the middle of an inning for the Mets.

Mejia gave up a two-run double to Hector Luna and a two-run single to Bryan Petersen, both of which were hit hard. The inning ended on an out on the bases. Figueroa was charged with three runs, Mejia with one.

But Mejia recovered in the fourth. After falling behind pitcher Seth McClung 3-and-0, Mejia got him to bounce out. He also jammed Chris Coghlan and induced a 1-3 groundout, allowed a hard-hit single to center to Cameron Maybin and retired Hanley Ramirez on a bouncer to short.

"It was good to see how he responds in those things," manager Jerry Manuel said after the game ended in an 8-8, 10-inning tie. "Gives us a little barometer, but not really much. I still like the fact that even though he had given up hits, he's throwing strikes. That's what he has to do. If he throws strikes, he gives us a chance to catch the ball."

Manuel would not say if Mejia (2.08 spring training ERA) has made the team. It's unlikely that anything the Mets saw Friday changed their current inclination, which is to use him in the major-league bullpen.

"I'm a relief pitcher now," Mejia said. "I told you before, I can pitch anywhere."

Figueroa, who had a 0.00 ERA in eight innings coming in, was charged with seven runs in 22/3 innings.

 

Reyes runs

Back in Port St. Lucie, Jose Reyes went through his third day of workouts without any problems. Reyes took grounders at short, hit in the cage and ran sprints in the outfield while Mets pitchers took batting practice.

(Only problem with that was the facetious little game the pitchers were playing: See if you can hit Reyes with a long drive. As if the Mets don't have enough bad luck.)

Reyes didn't put a timetable on when he will play in an exhibition game (for the first time in spring training) after missing nearly three weeks because of elevated thyroid levels; the Mets are hoping for Monday.

"I'm a little tired, but the last two days have been good," he said. "Hopefully, it can continue to be like that. I want to [play]. I haven't played in a long time. I have to get ready first."

Said Manuel: "Everything is going smoothly. There have not been any setbacks. Every day is a different kind of test. So far he's passed all of them."

 

Extra bases

David Wright had a two-run double and a solo homer to center. Jason Bay had two hits and an RBI. "Wright and Bay are on the team," Manuel said . . . Waiting for the Mets to sign released former Yankee Chad Gaudin? Don't hold your breath. They still haven't seriously discussed the possibility . . . Francisco Rodriguez had a new white Lamborghini dropped off at the Mets' complex in the morning.

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