PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) - David Wright is just about ready for the season.
The Mets third baseman hit a grand slam and Mike Pelfrey had his best outing of the spring and as New York beat the Houston Astros 9-1 on Thursday night.
Wright, who missed all but three games this spring while recovering from a torn rib cage muscle, drove a 3-2, two-out pitch from Livan Hernandez over the left-field wall.
``Livan, he can be a nightmare,' Wright said. ``We saw that first-hand when he was with us (in 2009). He just goes and he exploits your weaknesses. I kind of got lucky, I ran into one.'
Wright played six innings Thursday and will be back in the lineup for the Mets on Friday, when they play an afternoon game against the St. Louis Cardinals.
``It will be good test for me,' said Wright, who expects to play four or five innings Friday. ``A day game after a night game, it's my last chance for me to do that. I think it will be a good test for me, but I'm not expecting any problems.'
Pelfrey came into the game with an 11.49 ERA in four spring starts, but gave up just one run on three hits in 6 1/3 innings.
``I look at a couple things like the ball coming good again,' Pelfrey said. ``Command was by far the best it's been all spring training. I thought I did a good job of keeping the ball down. Obviously, (there were) a lot of groundballs from that.
``But it is spring training. At the end of the day, I felt good, I felt strong and I thought it was pretty good.'
Pelfrey had allowed at least four runs and six hits in each of his first four starts this spring. Pitching coach Dan Warthen even encouraged Pelfrey to alter his mechanics last week, having the 6-foot-7 right-hander bring his hands over his head during his delivery.
Pelfrey had three strikeouts and didn't issue any walks Thursday.
While Pelfrey said he hasn't been worrying about the results this spring, Mets manager Terry Collins had a different take.
``I think any time you have a good outing, you have to feel good about,' Collins said. ``He's a pro and he's been here a long time and he might downplay it, but I was real happy with what I saw. I saw all the things today that I've heard about.
``I saw a power sinker that had great movement, beating it in the dirt. He threw his curveball for strikes. (Catcher) Josh (Thole) said his splitter was outstanding. ... I thought it was really a step forward for him.'
The Mets' offense certainly did their part, including a seven-run fourth inning that was capped by Wright's first home run of the spring.
Hernandez, a non-roster invitee, allowed eight runs - four earned - on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings.
He threw a total of 38 pitches in the first three innings, but threw 44 in the fourth alone. Astros manager Brad Mills lifted Hernandez after Wright's slam.
``It was a long inning, but I felt fresh after I came out,' Hernandez said. ``I have to fix a little bit of the cutter, more in the strike zone. The other pitches are very good. The sinker's very good and the curveball's very good.
``This is what we're here for. Try to fix what is not working.'
Notes: The Mets reassigned Cs Rob Johnson and Lucas May, OFs Adam Loewen and Matt Den Dekker and pitcher Garrett Olson and optioned INF Jordany Valdespin to the minor leagues Thursday. ... Injured CF Andres Torres (calf) took batting practice and ran bases on Thursday. Collins said he hopes Torres will play in a minor league game Friday, just to get at_bats. If he plays Friday, Torres will not play defense.
The Associated Press News Service
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