- Adam Rubin, ESPN Staff Writer
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JUPITER, Fla. -- John Lannan’s solid spring training deviated off course Monday.
Twelve of 20 batters to face Lannan reached base as the Miami Marlins ultimately beat the Mets, 10-7, at Roger Dean Stadium.
Lannan has been projected to make the Opening Day roster as a left-handed relief complement to Scott Rice, while also serving as a viable rotation option should Jonathon Niese be required to miss rotation turns at the beginning of the season.
Lannan allowed five runs on eight hits and four walks in 3 1/3 innings.
“I just had a bad day,” Lannan said. “I just couldn’t find the strike zone. Everything felt pretty good. I was just missing the plate. Curveball, slider, everything was kind of falling off, and I couldn’t command the strike zone like I did the previous couple of outings. You really don’t want to give free passes. I like to keep my walks down.”
Lannan said the potential opportunity presented by Niese’s injury was something he tuned out.
“I was focusing on today’s start. That’s all I was focusing on,” Lannan said. “… I’m going to continue to do that. Hopefully he’s OK.”
Terry Collins indicated Lannan would soon get relief looks.
“We at least have got to have John come out of the pen once, just to see what it looks like, to have him get warmed up and have him come into a game and face a lefty, pretty much,” Collins said. “We’re going to try to do that, because he’s lengthened out enough. He threw 75 pitches today. He’s at the point where one more outing he’s at 90 and we can get him a couple of bullpen outings.”
Collins added that he was unalarmed by Lannan’s performance Monday as well as Jenrry Mejia’s showing Sunday in Las Vegas. Mejia allowed three runs (two earned) in 2 1/3 innings against the Chicago Cubs.
“As we see every year, there’s a time when those pitchers go through a dead stage, where they lose their release point, there’s a little fatigue that sets in,” Collins said. “Like anybody else, they need a break, too. So we’re not going to read much into it. They’re going to both be back out there again.”
Late relief? Jose Valverde followed Lannan and retired all five batters he faced. Valverde, on a minor-league contract, is all but assured of making the Opening Day roster.
“I don’t know where, but he’s certainly making a very, very strong case for a guy who is going to pitch on the back side of that bullpen. There’s no doubt,” Collins said. “… He doesn’t let the bad days interfere with the good days. He takes it even keel every day. And if we’re as young as we think we’re going to be, we’re going to need that.”
The Mets scored five eighth-inning runs, capped by a two-run single from Matt Clark.
Cory Mazzoni surrendered two runs in the bottom half.
Trailing by four runs, the Mets loaded the bases in the ninth, but Brian Burgamy grounded into a run-scoring double play as the rally stalled.
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