Francisco Rodriguez, Mets Pitching Looks Impressive, Shut-out Cardinals, 3-0

James Stewart-Meudt@@JSMeudtCorrespondent IIMarch 3, 2011

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - FEBRUARY 17:  Pitcher Francisco Rodriguez #75 of the New York Mets works out during spring training at Tradition Field on February 17, 2011 in Port St. Lucie, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Marc Serota/Getty Images

The New York Mets saw a lot of things to like from their pitchers in a 3-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals today.

Oliver Perez, looking to earn a spot in the starting rotation, tossed two scoreless innings, and closer Francisco Rodriguez, in his first spring action, added a scoreless inning of his own.

For as bad as Perez was in his first start this spring (2 IP, 4 ER, 3 BB), that's how good he was today. Perez gave up just one hit without walking a batter, though he still didn't show any improved velocity, topping off at around 84 mph.

Rodriguez, who has a $17.5 million option for the 2012 season if he finishes 55 games, gave up one hit in his lone inning of work with one strikeout.

The Mets have already been approached by the MLBPA to ensure they won't refrain from using Rodriguez just to keep his option from vesting. The team has said it'll do no such thing, but $17.5 million is a lot of money, and his salary will keep most teams from making a trade for the closer.

Rodriguez saved 25 games last season, finishing with a 2.20 ERA. He was placed on the disqualified list and had to forfeit $3.1 million following an altercation with his father-in-law after a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field.

Rodriguez underwent surgery to repair a torn ligament in his thumb as a result of the fight, and must also complete anger management training. He will be attending classes two to three times per week when the Mets are at home this season.

The Mets got scoreless innings from several other pitchers as well, including potential No. 5 starter Chris Capuano (1 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 0 K), Jason Isringhausen (1 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 0 K), Boof Bonser (1 IP, 0 H) and Taylor Buchholz (1 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 0 K).

Mets top prospect Jenrry Mejia tossed two scoreless innings, giving up one hit while walking one. Mejia, who posted a 4.62 ERA in 33 games last season, including three starts, is slated to begin 2011 in Triple-A.

Manager Terry Collins has said he did not agree with the Mets' decision to use Mejia as a reliever last season, and views the 22-year-old as a starting pitcher for the future.

Collins also said that they have identified as many as nine different pitchers competing for two open bullpen spots—naming Rodriguez, Buchholz, Tim Byrdak, D.J. Carrasco and Bobby Parnell as "locks" for the Mets relief corps.

Right-hander Chris Young, the front runner for the Mets' No. 4 spot in the rotation, will make the start tomorrow against the Florida Marlins. Also scheduled to play are second base candidates Brad Emaus and Luis Castillo.

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