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Manuel plays it cautious for first preseason lineup

Manager Jerry Manuel #53 and catcher Chris Coste

Manager Jerry Manuel #53 and catcher Chris Coste #3 wait for a relief pitcher as Elmer Dessens #64 of the New York Mets is escorted off the field by a team trainer after being hit on the leg with a line drive against the Atlanta Braves. (March 2, 2010) Photo Credit: Getty Images

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Jerry Manuel planned to use an Opening Day caliber lineup Tuesday for the Grapefruit League opener against the Braves. But as soon as the expected monsoon arrived, he scratched nearly all of his regulars.

If the Mets learned anything from last season, it's better to be safe than sorry. So Manuel chose to go with prevention rather than worry about recovery at this point of spring training.

"Definitely," Manuel said. "When I came in, I put up two lineups. When it rained like that, with the wind, I felt it wasn't necessary to ."

The field actually turned out to be in pretty good shape because it dried quickly once the sun emerged. But the players appreciated the manager's precautionary move.

"It's about being ready for Opening Day," David Wright said. "I'm sure everybody wanted to go out and play, but sometimes it's better to look at the big picture."

The Mets didn't escape the first game injury free, however. Reliever Elmer Dessens took a line drive hit by Brian McCann off his right knee and left in the third inning. Dessens walked off the field and was not seriously hurt.

 

Igarashi saves it

The Mets hope that Ryota Igarashi can fill their need for a setup man and Tuesday had to be considered a positive first audition. Igarashi earned the save in the Mets' 4-2 win with a scoreless ninth inning. He topped out at 95 mph but thought he was a little erratic with his splitter and curve.

"Of course I had some nerves," Igarashi said through an interpreter, "but it feels great."

 

Extra bases

Rookie first baseman Ike Davis went 2-for-3 with a double and also singled off a lefty reliever, but Manuel played down the talk of him making the Opening Day roster. "I'm not looking that way at this point," Manuel said . . . The Mets said Francisco Rodriguez will need a few more days away from the team as he recovers from pink eye. It was determined he was still contagious after Monday's visit to the doctor . . . Hisanori Takahashi flew to the Dominican Republic to take care of his visa issues and was expected back late Tuesday . . . Jesus Feliciano, Ruben Tejada, Russ Adams and Jason Pridie each had an RBI.

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