Play Ball! Mets Beat Braves in First Spring Game


March 2, 2010

Play Ball! Mets Beat Braves in First Spring Game PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Cross
another last off the list for Bobby Cox.

Atlanta's longtime manager got two
scoreless innings from Tommy Hanson, but the New York Mets spoiled Cox's
last spring training opener with a 4-2 victory over the Braves on

Cox announced last September that he
plans to retire after his 21st consecutive season in Atlanta's dugout —
the longest tenure of any active manager — and 25th overall. He has
agreed to serve as a consultant for the team after he steps down.

On a damp day in Florida, the
68-year-old Cox seemed happy to be off and running with another round of
spring games.

"Just getting ready," he said. "It's
business as usual and nothing has changed. I don't look at it that way.
It'll hit me the last week or so."

New York, which was riddled by
injuries last year, scratched Jose Reyes and all of its regulars from
the lineup when morning showers drenched the field.

"When it rains like that and wind and
[the] forecast is this and that, I just feel it wasn't necessary to do,"
Mets manager Jerry Manuel said.

Jason Pridie, Jesus Feliciano and
Ruben Tejada each drove in a run in the fifth inning for New York, which
is scheduled to play Atlanta in Kissimmee on Wednesday. Russ Adams
homered in the eighth.

Hanson allowed a leadoff single to
Feliciano before retiring six straight batters. The right-hander struck
out three.

"That was definitely a confidence
booster out there today," he said. "I wouldn't say I didn't expect to
throw that well, but it went better than planned."

Hanson went 11-4 with a 2.89 ERA in
21 starts last year as a rookie, despite spending the first month of the
season at Triple-A Gwinnett.

Another Braves phenom, Jason Heyward,
walked twice, singled and stole a base. Heyward is 20 years old and has
never played in the majors, but could be Atlanta's starting right
fielder on opening day.

"He's got great instincts," Cox said.
"That's why he's ahead of the 20-year-olds. He does a lot of other
things, other than just hit. He had a great day."

Manuel took a closer look at three
candidates for the eighth-inning role in New York's bullpen. Bobby
was nicked for a run in two innings, Pedro Feliciano struck out
two in a perfect eighth and Ryota Igarashi finished for the save.

The 5-foot-11, 190-pound Igarashi
agreed to a $3 million, two-year contract with New York in December
after a long career in Japan.

"Of course, I had some nerves coming
in," he said through an interpreter. "But with the home run that Adams
hit there, that gave a little cushion, made me feel a lot more
comfortable going in."

Mets RHP Francisco Rodriguez
(pink eye) visited a doctor Monday and is expected to stay away from the
team for a few more days because he's still contagious. … Mets LHP
Hisanori Takahashi went to the Dominican Republic on Monday night to
resolve a visa issue. … Cox also praised RHP Kris Medlen after the
game. Medlen allowed one hit in two scoreless innings. … Mets RHP
Elmer Dessens left after Brian McCann's comebacker went off his leg in
the third but Manuel said he would be fine. … Mets CF Carlos Beltran
said Tuesday he talked to federal investigators last week about a
Canadian doctor accused of selling an unapproved drug. He also said he
recommended the physician to teammate Jose Reyes, who also has been
questioned in the probe. Beltran and Reyes said they have nothing to
worry about because they didn't do anything wrong.

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