Print and Go Back ESPN.com: New York Mets [Print without images]

Thursday, March 7, 2013
Can Perpetual Pedro survive with less pep?

By Adam Rubin

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The Miami Marlins had six lefties and a switch-hitter in Thursday’s starting lineup, which gave Terry Collins a perfect opportunity to view Pedro Feliciano facing lefty batters.

In his first Grapefruit League action since returning to the Mets, Feliciano did his job in relief of Matt Harvey. The 36-year-old southpaw retired lefty hitters Chris Coghlan on a groundout to shortstop and Casey Kotchman on a flyout to center field.

Feliciano’s velocity only ranged 82-84 mph -- perhaps a modest uptick over Tuesday’s “B” game in Jupiter when he plunked the lone lefty he faced, but not by much.

Feliciano’s fastball averaged 87.0 mph in 2010, when he made a franchise-record 92 relief appearances and held lefty batters to a .211 average and no homers in 123 at-bats.

Can Feliciano, post-shoulder surgery, survive at a reduced velocity?

One scout said it is possible if Feliciano mixes his pitches, while Keith Hernandez on the telecast suggested 87 mph was the minimum.

“We’ll just keep running him out there and see if it keeps going up a little bit as he gets his arm strength back,” Collins said. “He knows how to pitch and knows how to change speeds. Hopefully he can get by with it.”