FORT MYERS, Fla. — Mets righthander Marcos Molina lost much of the last two seasons battling elbow problems, including a grueling rehab from Tommy John surgery. But the once highly regarded pitching prospect insisted he wasn’t nervous while facing a Red Sox lineup that included Hanley Ramirez.
Instead, Molina tossed two scoreless innings out of the bullpen Friday as the Mets beat the Red Sox, 3-2, in their Grapefruit League opener.
Molina, 22, dominated at Class A Brooklyn in 2014, going 7-3 with a 1.78 ERA in 12 starts. But elbow issues in 2015 eventually led to the surgery. Before Friday, his post-surgery pitching was limited to 16 2⁄3 innings in the Arizona Fall League.
“Sometimes you’d be frustrated,” Molina said. “But it’s hard. You see all your friends play and you stay there and don’t play. But you only need to keep your mind strong and work hard and keep going.”
Molina allowed a liner by Allen Craig, the first batter he faced, but gave up only soft contact the rest of the way. That included a grounder by Ramirez.
“He looked tremendous today,” catcher Travis d’Arnaud said. “Fearless. Attacked hitters. He had good poise out there and did a great job.”
Beginning with Saturday’s home opener against the Nationals, the Mets will play three straight games at First Data Field, with the team’s veterans expected to see plenty of action. Lefty Sean Gilmartin will start against the Nationals’ Gio Gonzalez. Lefties Jerry Blevins and Josh Smoker are expected to pitch in relief for the Mets . . . Prospect Gavin Cecchini hit a solo homer over the faux Green Monster at Jet Blue Park . . . The Mets took a combined no-hitter into the seventh . . . Josh Edgin, who is competing for a bullpen spot, allowed a solo homer by Brian Bogusevic.