Chris Capuano delivered a three-run double off Jordan Zimmermann and tossed three scoreless innings and David Wright had an opposite-field, three-run homer off Drew Storen as the Mets beat the Nationals, 8-2, Tuesday in Viera.
Carlos Beltran went 1-for-3 and played right field for five innings in his first Grapefruit League appearance since March 6. Still, Terry Collins did not get to use his Opening Day lineup, as had been planned. Jason Bay was scratched after straining a left rib-cage muscle during batting practice.
GM Sandy Alderson said the Mets may wait until close to Thursday’s 11 a.m. deadline to set rosters to decide whether to place Bay on the disabled list, but Collins did not sound optimistic about Bay breaking camp with the Mets because rib-cage muscles are vital to swinging and can linger without rest.
“They can be extremely nagging,” Collins said. “They can take a long time. They can be short. But at this particular time we’ve got to be very, very cautious because I don’t want to lose this guy for a month. If we have to lose him for a week to 10 days, that’s a helluva lot better than losing him for two months.”
Because Bay sat out the weekend with lower-back stiffness and has not appeared in a Grapefruit League game since last Thursday, any DL stint can be backdated six days into spring training. That means Bay would be eligible to come off the DL on April 9 -- which is the eighth game of the season.
As for his plan to use his Opening Day lineup (Jose Reyes, Angel Pagan, David Wright, Beltran, Bay, Ike Davis, Brad Emaus and Josh Thole), Collins said, alluding to Bay being scratched: “It didn’t get off to a very good start. That’s for sure. We’ll just wait until we get the doctor’s report, and then we’ll gather together. Hopefully he’s back and it’s just something that’s minor. If not, we’ll have to rework what we’re going to do to replace him.”
Other Tuesday details:
New York Mets
• Capuano finished the Grapefruit League with a 1.93 ERA. Because the Mets do not need a fifth starter until the season’s eighth game, April 9 against the Nationals at Citi Field, Capuano will work out of the bullpen during the season-opening series in Miami.
Collins sounded like Capuano would be more suited for a long-relief type role if needed than to be a second left-hander with Tim Byrdak to match up against a lefty hitter. Capuano said he probably could pitch as late as Game No. 5 in Philly next Wednesday in relief, but his manager suggested that’s not likely -- that it’s more important that Capuano throws a bullpen session with pitching coach Dan Warthen to have the proper preparation for his first regular-season start. So Capuano may be used once in relief against the Marlins and that’s it for bullpen work.
“We’re going to have him that first series and that will probably be it,” Collins said.
Capuano did make 15 of his 24 appearances in relief last season with the Milwaukee Brewers after returning from Tommy John surgery, and said: “I don’t need any special treatment in terms of time getting ready. I’d imagine I’d be maybe in a longer role, maybe if the starter gets in trouble early.”
• Jason Isringhausen plans to give the Mets an answer Wednesday about whether he will agree to remain in extended spring training in Port St. Lucie after he was passed over for the final bullpen spot in favor of Blaine Boyer.
Collins sounded optimistic Isringhausen would accept.
Since the Mets will not force Izzy to remain a Met if, say, another major league team wants to add him to its 25-man roster in a week, there’s really no incentive to not continue to work out at the Port St. Lucie complex.
“I still think that as we look down the road, you’ll end up seeing him pitch for us,” Collins said. “… As I told Izzy before the game: ‘Make no mistake about it, if you’re willing to be patient a little bit and condition your arm a little bit, we’re going to need help. There’s no doubt about it.’ I don’t know of anybody who has ever gone through [the season] with the same bullpen. We’ll just see what happens tomorrow.”
• Collins was pleased with how Beltran looked. “I thought he worked the count, laid off some pitches in the dirt, which tells me he’s seeing the ball good, which is a good sign,” the manager said.
• Francisco Rodriguez continued his run-free spring. K-Rod tossed a scoreless ninth inning -- that’s a game finished if you’re paying attention to that stuff -- while allowing a hit and a walk. Rodriguez has tossed 10 2/3 scoreless Grapefruit League innings.
New York Mets
• Collins explained the decision to select Boyer over Isringhausen was partly because of Boyer’s ability to coax groundballs. (Izzy's durability was a major, major issue.)
“I’m a big groundball guy,” the manager said. “His numbers state that he doesn’t really give up big innings, and he makes them hit the ball on the ground. We’re going to need that.”
Boyer tossed a scoreless inning Tuesday. He was informed by Collins in the outfield before the game that he had made the team. Boyer had an out in his contract on Thursday and could have otherwise declared free agency.
He complimented the way the Mets handled the roster decision.
“When he comes up and shakes your hand and says, ‘Congratulations, we’re going to go with you,’ it’s a great feeling,” Boyer said about Collins. “I’m just thankful to be a Met. … The thing with Terry, what I really appreciate -- any player would appreciate -- is he’s extremely open. You’re around some people who, they keep the door shut. His door was always open. He’s just not keeping anything from you. He’ll tell you what he knows. From a player’s standpoint, that’s just real refreshing. That’s what he’s been doing this whole time with all of us. He’s been very open. That’s a breath of fresh air.”
Boyer, 29, went 3-2 with a 4.26 ERA in 54 relief appearances for the Arizona Diamondbacks last season.
• The feel-good story of Tuesday may have been right-hander Pedro Beato officially making the team. Beato -- like Emaus a Rule 5 pick -- originally was drafted by the Mets in the 17th round in 2005 out of Brooklyn’s Xaverian High School. Beato wanted a $1 million signing bonus, the Mets only offered $750,000, and he did not sign.
A year later, Beato was selected 32nd overall by the Baltimore Orioles in the draft. The Mets selected him in the Rule 5 draft in December after Beato went 4-0 with a 2.11 ERA in 43 relief appearances last season with Double-A Bowie.
“It’s special. There’s no other way to explain it,” said Beato, who still lives in Ozone Park. “I grew up a Met fan. I grew up around it. Just to be home, and playing for my home team, is really exciting.”
Beato gave up a homer to Adam LaRoche, the first batter he faced, Tuesday and has a 3.55 Grapefruit League ERA.
His parents, who raised him in Woodside and then in Ridgewood in Queens during high school, moved to Florida two years ago. Beato said he only attended a couple of games a year at Shea Stadium growing up because he was playing sandlot baseball from January through October.
“Probably half the fans are going to be friends and family,” Beato said about Citi Field’s attendance. “I already told them the tickets are not free.” (Players have to pay taxes on the value of their free tickets.)
Beato pitched in the Dominican winter league and came ready for camp.
“I made sure I came ready,” he said. “I hit the ground running. I wasn’t going to be coming here to get ready. I knew I had to make a team.”
• R.A. Dickey allowed three earned runs on six hits and a walk while striking out seven in a 92-pitch effort over six innings for Class A St. Lucie. Dickey is scheduled to pitch opposite Javier Vazquez in the series finale in Miami.
• The Mets conclude their Grapefruit League schedule with a 12:10 p.m. game Wednesday against the Marlins in Port St. Lucie. Chris Young opposes Anibal Sanchez. The Mets, who are 16-15-2 in Grapefruit League play, then will have a late-afternoon workout Thursday at the Marlins’ stadium in Miami.