Prospect Blade Tidwell went 1 2/3 innings. “Stuff was good....

Prospect Blade Tidwell went 1 2/3 innings. “Stuff was good. So a positive outing for him,” manager Carlos Mendoza said on Friday, March 1, 2024. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

JUPITER, Fla. — In his first taste of the majors, Blade Tidwell had a weird day Friday.

His five-out relief appearance, at times messy and impressive, featured an awkward play that had Tidwell, one of the Mets’ best pitching prospects, briefly in a tizzy.

He had the bases loaded and nobody out with the Cardinals’ Paul Goldschmidt at the plate. Goldschmidt tried to check his swing, but the ball went off the knob of his bat, resulting in a grounder between the mound and first base. Pete Alonso fielded it, but Tidwell also pursued the ball.

For a moment that felt much longer for Tidwell, no one was at first base. A quartet of Cardinals were running. Alonso strongly suggested that Tidwell go to the bag.

“I thought that [Goldschmidt] might’ve already been at first base,” Tidwell, a 22-year-old righthander, said during the Mets’ 3-2 exhibition loss. “I felt like it was about 10 or 12 seconds. But I’m guessing it wasn’t that long. It was just an awkward play.

“He hit it off the literal knob of his bat. I got snapped back into it real quick when Alonso yelled, ‘Get to first!’  ”

Tidwell heeded that advice and they recorded the out. After a mound visit from pitching coach Jeremy Hefner, Tidwell struck out Nolan Gorman and Nolan Arenado to end the inning.

“I knew it couldn’t get much worse, so I figured I might as well throw some more strikes and see what happens,” he said.

Tidwell’s line: 1 2⁄3 innings, four hits, three runs, four strikeouts. He touched 97 mph with his fastball.

“I’ve been hearing about this kid for a while now,” manager Carlos Mendoza said. “I’m pretty sure he was nervous, first time pitching in a big-league game, but I thought he handled it well. Stuff was good. So a positive outing for him.”

Tidwell, the Mets’ second-round draft pick in 2022, was a call-over from minor-league camp for the day. After ending last season with Double-A Binghamton, he doesn’t want to think about what this year might bring.

“I try to just keep my head down and go about my business every day,” he said. “I try not to play GM too much in my head. If you do that, it’ll be a long year.”

Star(ling) of the day

After an uneventful debut earlier in the week, Starling Marte showed off in the first inning Friday.

He led off by laying a perfect bunt down the third-base line and looked comfortable running to first. Then he threw a dart from near the rightfield foul line to third base to nab Dylan Carlson, who was trying to tag up.

Extra bases

Mark Vientos launched an opposite-field homer off lefthander Matthew Liberatore, his first long ball of spring training . . . Luis Severino hit 97.8 mph with his fastball on the last pitch of his two scoreless innings in his first Grapefruit League action.

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