LOS ANGELES -- Chris Capuano, who started against the Mets at Dodger Stadium Thursday night, was a Met for only one season. Last season.
But he left quite an impression on manager Terry Collins and his teammates, who are happy for Capuano's success with the Dodgers, even if they didn't want it to continue when he faced the Mets' Chris Young.
Capuano went into the game with a 9-2 record and 2.60 ERA. He was 11-12 with a 4.55 ERA for the Mets in 2011. He missed 2008 and 2009 after Tommy John surgery and made only 24 appearances (nine starts) in 2010. So the Mets got more than they expected when they signed Capuano for one year and a base salary of $1.5 million.
They also helped make Capuano more marketable when he hit the free-agent market again. The Dodgers signed the 33-year-old for two years and $10 million, which was a little too much for the Mets to commit. So they reluctantly bid the lefthander a fond farewell.
"That's how guys make what they make -- because of what they did a year ago,'' Collins said. "And Cappy pitched great for us. Absolutely great. Wonderful guy. He's a tremendous person, one of the hardest workers you've ever been around in your life. I'm really, really happy for him."
Asked what he liked about Capuano, Collins said: "He competes. Mentality-wise, he reminds me of Chris Young, Johan Santana -- those guys who go out there and without really that plus-plus stuff, they really compete with what they got. Don't give in, make their pitches, make them count. Do all the little things."
With Santana expected back, the Mets went into this season feeling they had five viable starters. They re-signed Young as rotation insurance after his 2011 was limited to four starts because of the same shoulder surgery Santana had. They cashed in the policy shortly after Mike Pelfrey was lost for the season.
Young went into Thursday night with a 1-1 record and 3.42 ERA.
Capuano, who went to Duke, and Young, a Princeton grad, are seen as cerebral pitchers. But you can't think the ball across the plate. Health matters, and both have it now.
"It's interesting," Mets catcher Josh Thole said. "[Capuano] and CY both are two peas in a pod, virtually. Just battled back from injury and prepared the right way. They know what they want to do and they go out and try to execute it."
Notes & quotes: The Mets arrived in Los Angeles early Thursday morning after a flight from Chicago that was delayed about four hours because of mechanical trouble. They eventually had to relocate to another plane before they could depart. They also were delayed on the first leg of the trip from New York to Chicago after the final game of the Subway Series. "Unbelievable," Collins said. "I'll tell you, with what's going on with our travel schedule so far this year, I salute our players. It has been disrupted and disrupted and delays and late arrivals and early games and late games. It's been grueling the first half." . . . The Dodgers went into the game having lost eight of nine. They were shut out in their previous three games by the Giants and lost rightfielder Andre Ethier to a left oblique strain Wednesday. Ethier was not in the lineup Thursday night but did not join fellow outfielder Matt Kemp on the disabled list. Kemp has been out since May 31 with a hamstring strain . . . The Dodgers reportedly agreed to sign 21-year-old Cuban outfielder Yasiel Puig to a seven-year, $42-million contract, pending a physical.
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