LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Pitching and defense? Hopefully the "A" team does a better job of living up to Jerry Manuel's spring-training mantra because yesterday's "B" list Mets didn't do much to impress the manager in a sloppy 9-5 loss to the Braves at Champions Stadium.
The roster that Manuel brought north up the Florida Turnpike looked lost during the seventh inning, when the Mets committed four errors and allowed five runs to blow an early 4-0 lead. Josh Stinson, Josh Thole, Ike Davis and Anderson Hernandez had errors during the ugly inning.
"We were a little sloppy today," Manuel said. "But it will probably take a while before we get in that flow and rhythm where we see good baseball."
Misch in mix?
With lefthander Pat Misch trailing at least two other candidates, Jon Niese and Fernando Nieve, for the fifth starter's job, Manuel sees him competing against Hisanori Takahashi for a possible long relief role. Misch allowed one hit in three scoreless innings Wednesday.
Wags pokes fun at Bay
"If he doesn't buy my house I'm going to bean him," Wagner said. "He won't even return my calls. Uses me in his press conference - "Yeah, I talked to Billy Wagner" - and he won't even call me back.''
Manuel shared some laughs with Bobby Valentine as the two chatted on the top step of the visitors' dugout during batting practice. Valentine talked to some Mets to gather material for his ESPN gig . . . Fernando Martinez went 2-for-3 with a run-scoring triple. Mike Cervenak had two RBIs and Angel Pagan and Thole each had one.