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Bannister Impresses, Julio Doesn't in Loss to Marlins

Mike SteffanosSunday, March 19, 2006
By Mike Steffanos

Marlins 5 - Mets 0
Brian Bannister pitched 5 strong innings against the Marlins as he continued his bid to make the club. Bannister allowed only 2 hits and no walks, striking out 3. A double by shortstop Alfredo Amezaga was the Marlins' only well hit ball against Bannister. He scored on a sacrifice fly by Miguel Cabrera. The Marlins also scored an unearned run against Bannister in the fifth on a throwing error by 2B Anderson Hernandez. Bannister was pleased with his afternoon:

I hit my spots with the fastball, and I was breaking bats all day long. My pitches had good life and movement on them.

Pedro Feliciano, who is emerging as a front-runner for the lefty specialist job, pitched a scoreless sixth for the Mets, striking out 2 and looking very sharp. Jorge Julio followed, and pitched a scoreless seventh, but didn't appear to have good control. It caught up with him in the eighth, as he gave up a monster 2-run home run to Mike Jacobs. The boo-birds, left high and dry by Matsui's injury, promptly adopted Julio as their new spring project. Bartolome Fortunato followed Julio and pitched a scoreless ninth.

The Mets offense struggled all afternoon against the Marlins' Quadruple-A pitching staff. The Mets managed only 8 singles, and David Wright and Lastings Milledge were both caught stealing. Milledge did have a nice throw home to the plate in Julio's meltdown inning that should have nailed the baserunner, but journeyman catcher Sandy Martinez dropped the throw. It was just one play in a bad defensive game for the veteran journeyman Martinez, who is slotted to be the insurance catcher in Norfolk.

The Mets will have the day off tomorrow, and will resume Grapefruit League play against the Orioles in Fort Lauderdale Tuesday.

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