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Tale of two rookies: Mets' Mejia and Takahashi

Jenrry Mejia of the New York Mets seeks

Jenrry Mejia of the New York Mets seeks inspiration after escaping a sixth-inning jam with only one run allowed to the Florida Marlins. (April 7, 2010) Photo Credit: MCT/David Pokress

Jenrry Mejia's major-league debut wasn't so great, but it was a good spot to get into a game: The Mets were down three runs and there wasn't so much pressure.

Hisanori Takahashi's major-league debut wasn't so great either, and his was a little more costly.

Both of the Mets' rookie relievers - Mejia is 20 and Takahashi is 35 - got their first action last night, and both gave up runs.

Takahashi's run was the winner, though, in the 10th inning of a 7-6 loss.

It's too early to be upset with either pitcher, and Jerry Manuel was more encouraged than displeased.

"He throws strikes. That's what he can do for us," Manuel said of Mejia, who came out firing 95-mph fastballs in the sixth inning and got knocked back a bit by a single from the Marlins' Cody Ross and then a double from Gaby Sanchez. "That was a good situation for him."

Mejia cruised through spring training to earn a spot in the bullpen, so he was pretty surprised the Marlins were on him and his high-powered fastball so soon. Chris Coghlan singled in a run before Mejia retired Cameron Maybin on a fielder's choice, with David Wright throwing out Sanchez at the plate, and then dangerous Hanley Ramirez on a grounder to short.

"I think they know about my fastball because I saw them a lot in spring training, maybe three or four times," Mejia said. "I was a little bit surprised [they were hitting me]. But Jerry Manuel said that's good. He wants me to throw strikes. That's what I did."

At the other end of the spectrum was Takahashi, who gave up the winning run despite allowing only a pair of singles off changeups.

"It's a tough spot," Rod Barajas said. "You've got Wes Helms up there leading off, and he hits lefties pretty good. The hit was a good pitch, and so was the other one [by Ronny Paulino]. They just hit balls where we weren't."

Barajas also noted the chance for some poor communication with Takahashi, who came in to start the 10th after a long ninth inning.

"The whole language barrier - you hope he gets everything, but you're not sure he does," Barajas said. "I'm not saying that's what happened tonight, but it's just a real tough spot for your first game. It'll get better."

New York Sports