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Jenrry Mejia has tough inning in Grapefruit League debut for Mets

Mets relief pitcher Jenrry Mejia, right, stand on

Mets relief pitcher Jenrry Mejia, right, stand on the mound after giving up a three-run home run to Miami Marlins non-roster invitee Casey Kotchman, background, during the first inning of an exhibition spring training baseball game. (Feb. 26, 2013) Credit: AP

JUPITER, Fla. -- Jenrry Mejia tried to make good use of his unexpectedly extended offseason.

As authorities investigated his identity, delaying his visa request and his arrival at spring training, the Mets righthander worked out at the team's complex in the Dominican Republic. According to manager Terry Collins, Mejia even made a few game appearances against Dominican prospects.

"Yeah, I feel ready," Mejia said, though in Tuesday's 7-5 loss to the Marlins, he looked anything but prepared.

In Mejia's first Grapefruit League outing since arriving at camp last week, he allowed five runs (four earned) and three hits in one inning. His error, which came after fielding a Juan Pierre bunt, led to Casey Kotchman's first-inning grand slam.

"That was my first time," said Mejia, who will work as a starter. "The only thing that I have to work on is throw strikes, attack the zone."

Mejia could play an important role early in the season for the Mets. If Johan Santana can't regain his arm strength in time to start Opening Day, Mejia, 23, is one of the candidates to fill out the back of the rotation.

Mazzoni mows 'em down

Righthander Cory Mazzoni tossed three perfect innings against the Marlins, running his total to five scoreless innings in two games. "It is really early," said Mazzoni, 23, a second-round draft pick in 2011. "It's good I'm getting results but I'm just happy that my fastball command is pretty good and I think still can get better."

Tejada returning

Ruben Tejada (right quad) will play Wednesday vs. the Cardinals . . . Zack Wheeler will make his second spring training appearance -- and his first Grapefruit League start -- Wednesday at 1:10 p.m. . . . The Mets will see two of the most electrifying arms on back-to-back days: Stephen Strasburg Thursday and Justin Verlander on Friday.

New York Sports