The New York Mets won again today, beating the Houston Astros, 6-2, behind three strong innings from Zack Wheeler and two homers from Curtis Granderson.
Wheeler was scheduled to pitch two innings, but went out for a third because his pitch count was low. His best pitch was a sharp cutter.
“It was terrible in the bullpen,’’ Wheeler said. “I was worried about it, but I turned it around in the game.’’
Wheeler said it is night-and-day between this spring training and last year.
“I feel a little more comfortable,’’ he said. “I can relax and get my job done.’’
Wheeler threw a high of 96 mph., and held the Astros to two hits with three strikeouts while throwing 40 pitches.
Granderson was GM Sandy Alderson’s marquee signing over the winter. He’s slated to hit clean-up and protect David Wright in the order.
Conventional wisdom is he won’t hit for the same power he did at Yankee Stadium, but there was nothing cheap about either homer.
Granderson’s power last year was sapped because of two hand injuries, but he whipped the bat through the hitting zone and drove each ball.
* Reliever Vic Black struggled with his command as he threw 34 pitches in one inning, and walked the bases loaded in the seventh.
* New Players Association chief Tony Clark was in camp to meet the players. In the MLBPA’s annual sabre rattling, Clark said the union would monitor the club’s spending. Currently, the Mets’ projected payroll entering the season is the seventh lowest in the major leagues. Reportedly, the team’s current loan has payroll restraints written into the terms by the lenders. The Mets dispute that language. Clark said the union is not consulted by clubs on the specifics of their loans.
* Eric Young started for the first time this spring and reached base twice. He had been sidelined with a tight side muscle.
* First basemen Ike Davis (calves) and Lucas Duda (legs), and infielders Ruben Tejada and Wilfredo Tovar (hamstrings) did not play.
* Matt Harvey long-tossed for the second straight day. His program consists of 20 throws at 60 feet on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
* Collins indicated David Wright and Daniel Murphy should play by the end of the week. Both had side-muscle problems in previous springs and are being eased into the games.
* Jeremy Hefner, who like Harvey is recovering from Tommy John surgery, started the same program.
* Former Met Johan Santana signed a minor league deal with Baltimore. (See earlier post today).