Mar 12

Lannan Sharp In Loss To Cardinals

Lefty John Lannan scored points again today in his effort to land a role with the New York Mets. Signed to compete for the fifth-starter job, Lannan could make the Opening Day roster out of the bullpen.

Lannan gave up two unearned runs in four innings, but retired his last eight hitters in a 6-4 loss to St. Louis.

Lannan struck out five, but perhaps more importantly, got nine ground-ball outs. What’s next for Lannan, he doesn’t know, but sounded as if he’ll start again.

“The possibility of [relieving] has been brought up to me, just in conversation,’’ Lannan told reporters in Port St. Lucie. “I started today, and I’m going to act as if I’m starting five days from now, until I’m told otherwise.’’

The Mets are projected to carry seven relievers, but currently Scott Rice would be the only left-hander unless Lannan makes the roster.

ON DECK: Mets Wrap.

Mar 12

Mets’ Lineup, March 12, Against St. Louis

The Mets keep looking for a shortstop, so why isn’t Wilmer Flores starting today against St. Louis? He messed up a play Tuesday, but how many as Ruben Tejada botched?

It’s clear the Mets aren’t happy with Tejada and are trying to replace him. Run Flores out there for several days to get a better idea. One game doesn’t cut it.

Given that, here’s today’s lineup:

Eric Young, dh

Daniel Murphy, 2b

David Wright, 3b

Curtis Granderson, rf

Chris Young, lf

Eric Campbell, 1b

Taylor Teagarden, c

Juan Lagares, cf

Ruben Tejada, ss

John Lannan, lhp

LINEUP COMMENTS: I already weighed in on Flores-Tejada. … Lagares and Chris Young have hit up-and-down the lineup this spring, so it’s clear Terry Collins has some decisions to make. … Evidently, Lucas Duda isn’t ready, otherwise he could have been used as a DH. … There’s a Teagarden sighting. We haven’t seen much of him this spring.

ON DECK: The Mets’ shortstop situation.

Mar 12

Mets Today: John Lannan Starts; Returns Of Duda And Murphy Possible

Fifth-starter candidate John Lannan will start today against St. Louis in Port St. Lucie.

Lannan, signed to compete for the fifth-starter role, is also being considered for a spot in the bullpen in the wake of lefty Josh Edgin being sent to the minor league camp.

Whatever happens this spring, Lannan said he’s not ready to give up starting, and at 29, has plenty of time remaining.

“I don’t think anything right now. I’m just going to take it as it is,’’ Lannan said of his role. “I think that I’m not done as a starter. I think the last few years I’ve kind of run into, I don’t want to say back luck, but some unfortunate circumstances – in 2012 getting sent to Triple-A and last year with the injury [surgery on left leg] I had.

“I don’t think I’m done [starting], but I’m looking forward to the possibility of pitching in the big leagues. Whatever capacity that is, I’m just looking forward to it.’’

In addition today:

* Daniel Murphy practiced outside Tuesday, so he might be able to play.

* Lucas Duda could return to the lineup today or tomorrow. He’s been bothered by a tight left hamstring, but has been hitting in the cage.

* Bartolo Colon and Jenrry Mejia are scheduled to start the two games in Las Vegas, Saturday and Sunday, respectively against the Chicago Cubs. Also expected on the travel squad are David Wright, Curtis Granderson, Juan Lagares, Travis d’Arnaud and Bobby Parnell.

ON DECK:  The need for a second lefty in the bullpen.

Mar 11

Mets Wrap: Looking At Spring Training Issues; Niese Struggles; Murphy Update

Today, I revisited the top five issues facing the New York Mets heading into spring training.

They are: the fifth starter competition; whether Bobby Parnell will be ready for the season; the Ike Davis saga; Ruben Tejada’s status; and who might be the Opening Day starter.

To date, Daisuke Matsuzaka has the inside track; Parnell said he’s ready; both Davis and Tejada remain a mess; and manager Terry Collins prefers Eric Young, although that might keep Juan Lagares off the Opening Day roster.

In addition:

* Jon Niese struggled in his exhibition debut against St. Louis, giving up four runs on six hits and two walks in two innings in his exhibition debut, won by the Mets, 9-8, on Zach Lutz’s tie-breaking homer in the ninth. Josh Satin and Kirk Nieuwenhuis also homered. If Niese isn’t ready, manager Terry Collins said he would go with either Dillon Gee or Bartolo Colon.

* John Lannan, Wednesday’s starter, will be looked at out of the bullpen. That’s necessary with Josh Edgin being sent to the minor league camp.

* Wilmer Flores started at shortstop and contributed with Omar Quintanilla to botch a potential double-play grounder. However, Flores reached base three times and scored twice.

* Daniel Murphy, out with a bruised right shin, practiced outside, which could indicate he’ll play soon.

* The Mets announced they would host an international soccer match at Citi Field, July 24, between AC Milan and Olympiakos. Tickets go on sale Thursday at Mets.com/Soccer, Tickets.com or by calling (718) 507-TIXX.

Mar 11

Niese Has Rough Outing; Says He’s Fine Physically

The Cardinals hit Jonathon Niese hard today, but not as hard as the Mets’ left-hander hit himself.

The Cardinals rapped Niese for four runs on six hits and two walks in two innings in his exhibition debut, won by the Mets, 9-8, on Zach Lutz’s tie-breaking homer in the ninth.

Niese wasn’t happy with is fastball, which topped out at 89 mph., or his cutter, but took solace in not feeling discomfort his shoulder, which revealed substantial weakness in a Feb. 26 MRI.

“I’m at 50 pitches, so I’m halfway to 100,’’ Niese told reporters. “I would have liked to have done it in more than two innings. I guess it is what it is. I don’t feel like my pitches are as crisp.

“I think some of that might have to do with mechanics. But as far as my arm, it feels better and better each time. That’s a good sign.’’

As for his velocity, the Mets’ projected Opening Day starter said it should increase as he gets stronger in his final three exhibition starts.

Manager Terry Collins said if Niese is not being ready for Opening Day, March 31, against Washington at Citi Field, he would choose between Dillon Gee or Bartolo Colon.

Offensively, in addition to Lutz, Josh Satin and Kirk Nieuwenhuis homered for the Mets. Also, Wilmer Flores, who botched a potential double-play grounder in the first, reached base three times and scored twice.

ON DECK: Mets Wrap.