Francoeur chops former Braves teammates
In Port St. Lucie on Tuesday, current Met and former Atlanta Brave Jeff Francoeur connected for a long home run to dead center off Tommy Hanson (two ER in five IP) and later walked twice (not a typo). He also doubled up Chipper Jones at first with a strong throw. Don’t go wild as Francoeur is still just batting .219 on the spring, same as David Wright.
Mets second baseman Luis Castillo swiped a pair of bases, his second and third of the spring. Best is that he didn’t seem to get injured in the process.
During an in-game interview with Jerry Manuel, the Mets manager did not yet commit that top prospect Jenrry Mejia (1.54 Florida ERA) will make the team. Rumors are that he could set up K-Rod. Mejia looked very good Tuesday with sharp breaking pitches and good movement on his fastball in one inning of work.
On the other hand, Oliver Perez looked about the same as always, good stuff but poor control. Ollie walked four and allowed five hits and three runs in 4 1/3 innings. Nice contract, Omar!
While Manuel was being interviewed, old man Gary Matthews Jr. shot an RBI triple into the right field corner. The manager said he would go with the hot hand in center until Carlos Beltran returns. That keeps the situation with Angel Pagan muddled.
In the land of confusing names competing for the same job, Manuel suggested Jonathan Niese is a better fit as his #5 starter with Fernando Nieve more suited for the pen.
Braves centerfielder Nate McLouth singled for his second hit of the spring, raising his average to .035.
Braves fans should hope that Chipper somehow avoids injury as reserve Brooks Conrad looked absolutely wooden at third base. He missed an easy tag and later didn’t leap for a high throw from the catcher, with the latter play providing the go-ahead runs for the Mets in their eventual win. Billy Wagner was on the mound when the two unearned runs scored.
In other Florida news, lefty Zach Duke has been named the Pirates' Opening Day starter, followed by Ross Ohlendorf, Paul Maholm, Charlie Morton and Daniel McCutchen.