VIERA, Fla. - It was a good afternoon to be flying a kite Monday at Space Coast Stadium. In the case of Mike Pelfrey, however, it was not the best time to be leaving fastballs up in the strike zone.
The first three essentially were pop-ups that found the jet stream blowing out to leftfield. But the fourth, a two-run shot by Zimmerman that caromed off a light stanchion in the fifth, was no cheapie.
"I did not like the wind," Pelfrey said. "Three of them I thought were going to be caught. The last one was a no-doubter. He hit that ball good. But you have to pitch to your conditions. I did a bad job of executing fastballs. All four were on fastballs."
He allowed seven hits and six runs but walked only one to go with three strikeouts. Pelfrey has a 7.36 ERA in his four starts.
Carter in the mix
The competition for the last spot on the bench is getting more crowded these days now that Chris Carter has forced his way into the picture. Carter, acquired from the Red Sox last season in the Billy Wagner deal, had three hits Monday for a total of six in the last two games.
Initially, the battle figured to be between Mike Jacobs and Frank Catalanotto. But Carter, an outfielder/first baseman who, like the other two, bats lefthanded, is showing that he can handle a similar role when called upon.
"He's making a bid," Jerry Manuel said. "We have a pinch-hitter spot open at this stage and he has put his name in the hat very strongly."