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Saturday, March 15, 2014
Mets 3, Twins 3: Familia zeroes in on pen

By Adam Rubin

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Dillon Gee surrendered five hits in 3 1/3 innings, but kept the Minnesota Twins off the scoreboard in an eventual 3-3 tie Saturday at Tradition Field by a Mets split squad.

Acting manager Bob Geren hoped for Gee to pitch five innings, as Zack Wheeler had done Friday night. But Gee reached his limit after delivering pitch No. 63 -- a leadoff double to Chris Colabello in the fourth.

“That’s not good to go three innings with 65 pitches,” Gee said. “Hopefully during the season I’ll get more innings out of that.”

Left-hander Dana Eveland, a former big leaguer who pitched in Korea, stranded Colabello by retiring three straight Twins. Eveland, 30, ultimately contributed 2 1/3 scoreless innings. He was being borrowed from minor-league camp.

Gee had allowed four singles over the first two innings. His final line: 3 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K.

“I didn’t give up any runs. That’s a key,” Gee said. “I didn’t feel that great today. Whatever it was five days ago that made me feel so good wasn’t really there today. I just have to keep working on it. I made big pitches when I had to today in key situations, with guys on base. That was good. ... The changeup felt good. I threw a lot of offspeed pitches behind in the count. That more replicates what’s going to happen during the year.”

How they scored: The Mets got a first-inning solo homer from Chris Young against left-hander Scott Diamond. Daniel Murphy staked the Mets to a 2-0 lead in the third with a sacrifice fly that plated Matt Reynolds. Josh Satin added a fifth-inning RBI single.

Vic Black walked two while loading the bases in the eighth. He then surrendered a two-run single to Eduardo Escobar and run-scoring single by Jermaine Mitchell as Minnesota evened the score at 3.

Zeroing in: Jeurys Familia tossed a scoreless ninth, including breaking the webbing on catcher Taylor Teagarden's glove with one fastball. Familia now has logged five scoreless Grapefruit League innings, having allowed only one hit while striking out four and walking none.

The projected Opening Day bullpen at this point includes Bobby Parnell, Black, Jose Valverde, Carlos Torres, Scott Rice, Familia and John Lannan.

“Two days in a row he threw the ball really well,” Geren said about Familia. “Obviously he threw the ball hard. I think he hit 100 mph out there today. He broke Teagarden’s glove. It went through the web. That’s kind of like a script out of a movie. That’s pretty fun. At first I thought Teagarden missed it. And then he turned around and ran for a new glove.”

Debutant: 2013 first-round pick Dominic Smith, an 18-year-old playing high school ball in Los Angeles at this time last year, finished the game at first base. He produced a hit in his first career Grapefruit League at-bat, on an eighth-inning dribbler back up the middle.

“I felt a little bit of nervousness,” Smith said. “Besides that, I was excited.”

Smith, incidentally, has a tattoo on his right forearm that reads: “Your dream.”

He explained: “For me, it means never give up on your dream. You only live once in your life, so no matter how tough it gets, or no matter how hard it gets, especially in baseball, always fight.”

What’s next: Jonathon Niese attempts to move beyond a rough first Grapefruit League start in which a first-pitch fastball registered only 79 mph. The southpaw opposes St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright at 1:05 p.m. Sunday in Jupiter, Fla. Niese is slated to be the Opening Day starter if he proves he is ready for the assignment after missing time early in camp with shoulder weakness.