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Friday, February 25, 2011
Postgame review: Mets (ss) 3, Mets (ss) 2

By Adam Rubin

Scott Hairston had a pair of solo homers and Willie Harris and Dusty Ryan also went deep in Friday's six-inning intrasquad game on the eve of Saturday's Grapefruit League opener against the Atlanta Braves.

"We've got some power," Terry Collins quipped about the game's result.

More analytically, the manager added: "It's almost like a glorified BP session where they can still work on going after the strike zone, and it allows the hitters to take some swings off a pitcher. But there were some good things. Scott Hairston shows exactly why we brought him here. He can hit the ball out of the ballpark. He can play center. Willie, now he is a Met, he's still beating the Mets. He beat the other Mets on the other side of the field."

The righty-hitting Hairston and the lefty-hitting Harris likely will be the fourth and fifth outfielders, with Nick Evans the only other notable contender in that mix. Hairston signed a major league contract, and figures to provide power off the bench.

"I hope I can fulfill that role," Hairston said. "... I'm not thinking too much about my role yet. I just try to prepare myself. A lot can change from now to the start of the season."

Traling 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth, Harris led off the half-inning with a homer against Manny Alvarez. Jordany Valdespin then walked, stole second and advanced to third base on a pickoff throw to center field with no one covering second. Valdespin scored the decisive run in the 3-2 victory on Justin Turner's ensuing sacrifice fly.

Right-hander D.J. Carrasco, who signed a two-year, $2.4 million deal during the offseason, served up the game-opening homer to Hairston on an 0-2 slider, but proved one of the bright spots during his two-inning outing. The only other baserunner he allowed came on a two-out error by shortstop Ruben Tejada on a wide throw to first base in the second inning, which snapped a string of four straight strikeouts. The strikeout victims included Zach Lutz, from a drop-down arm angle.

"I liked the way D.J. went about it. I liked his different angles that he threw from," said Collins, who will give Carrasco rotation consideration, although the right-hander is expected to settle into a seventh-inning role.

Ryota Igarashi also had a strong showing, with zip on his fastball and a biting breaking ball that resembled the success he had before landing on the disabled list last season with a left hamstring injury. Igarashi retired all six batters he faced, including Hairston on a fastball and Brad Emaus on a breaking ball. Emaus was so fooled his bat ended up in the stands down the third-base line.

"He had really good zip, and a little 'run' at the end too," Hairston said. "I knew I had to get ready. He spotted his fastball really well. And he had a really good breaking ball, too."

Igarashi is owed $1.75 million this season, but he already has cleared waivers and was removed from the 40-man roster. So he probably has an uphill battle in attempting to prove he merits being on the major league roster and very likely could find himself as Triple-A Buffalo's closer to open the season.

"Somebody asked me today if he's got a shot," Collins said. "I thought today he shows you he's got good-enough stuff. He throws it over the plate. He gets ahead in the count, he can get easy outs. I thought his velocity was very good today. I told him the first day in this camp: 'What got him to the United States, what got him to this team, he needs to continue to do.' He cannot try to become an American. He's got to throw the way he did in Japan -- and that is a lot."

Said Igarashi, through interpreter Mike Peters: "Of course I know it's a tough battle. Thinking about it doesn't change anything. I just have to focus on my pitching and do a good job."

Right-hander Blaine Boyer was scratched with a tight back, although Collins said the reliever wanted to pitch and was held out as a precaution.

"His back got stiff on him on the field when he got in this morning," Collins said. "He said he was fine and could pitch. I said, 'Not in an intrasquad game you're not going to pitch with a stiff back.' So we just backed him off. He's fine. He wanted to pitch. He said he was ready. But we just said no, not right now."

Otherwise, other than Johan Santana and Tobi Stoner's pre-camp shoulder issues, no one is restricted from Grapefruit League competition, according to Collins.

BOXSCORE

VISITOR

# Player Pos. AB R H RBI
12 Scott Hairston CF 3 2 2 2
68 Brad Emaus 2B 3 0 0 0
21 Lucas Duda LF 3 0 1 0
6 Nick Evans 1B 3 0 0 0
26 Fernando Martinez RF 3 0 0 0
65 Zach Lutz 3B 2 0 0 0
25 Chin-lung Hu SS 2 0 0 0
19 Raul Chavez C 2 0 0 0
0 Jeff Glenn DH 1 0 0 0

Pitchers IP H R ER BB SO
64 Josh Stinson RHP 2 0 0 0 0 3
50 Mike O'Connor LHP 2 1 0 0 0 1
47 Taylor Tankersley LHP 1 2 1 1 0 1
67 Manny Alvarez, L RHP 1 1 2 1 1 1

2B: Duda
3B: None
HR: Hairston 2
SB: None
E: Alvarez
DP: 1
SAC: None

HOME

# Player Pos. AB R H RBI
20 Jason Pridie CF 2 0 0 0
22 Willie Harris LF 3 1 1 1
28 Daniel Murphy 2B 1 0 0 0
63 Jordany Valdespin 2B 1 1 0 0
2 Justin Turner 3B 2 0 0 1
72 Kirk Nieuwenhuis RF 2 0 0 0
62 Dusty Ryan C 3 1 1 1
4 Russ Adams 1B 2 0 0 0
11 Ruben Tejada SS 2 0 1 0
71 Kai Gronauer DH 2 0 1 0

Pitchers IP H R ER BB SO
77 D.J. Carrasco RHP 2 1 1 1 0 4
40 Tim Byrdak LHP 2 2 1 1 0 1
18 Ryota Igarashi, W RHP 2 0 0 0 0 2

2B: Gronauer
3B: None
HR: Harris, Ryan
SB: Valdespin, Nieuwenhuis
E: Tejada
DP: None
SF: Turner