By Mike Steffanos
Orlando Hernandez pitched six strong innings against the Cardinals Friday afternoon, and his performance should at least temporarily quiet down some of the predictions of doom for the 41-year-old Cuban right-hander. It wasn't a perfect outing, as he got away with some hanging breaking pitches early on, but he got sharper as the game went on. He also made it through 6 innings and about 95 pitches. With another spring start ahead of him, he should be ready to pitch once the real games start.
El Duque's line: 6IP, 1R, 0ER, 3H, 5K, 3BB
Jon Adkins pitched a scoreless inning in relief, and is doing a better job throwing strikes and keeping the ball down. He could still win a job with a strong final week, as he has no minor league options left.
Pedro Feliciano hasn't missed a beat from last year, and continued his terrific spring with a 1-2-3 eighth. Coming into this spring after Scott Schoeneweis was signed to the big contract Feliciano had to show that last year was no fluke. I don't think he's left any doubt about that.
Aaron Heilman came into the game in the ninth with a 2-1 lead and nailed it down for the Mets, looking pretty sharp with the changeup.
The offense was pretty quiet today, notching only 5 hits. With the Cardinals clinging to a 1-0 lead after an unearned run in the first, David Newhan drove in the tying run with a sac fly in the sixth, and Damion Easley had a 2-out base hit to plate the game winner in the eighth.
Split squads on Saturday. Chan Ho Park takes the hill against the Orioles in St. Lucie in a game that will be televised on SNY at 1 PM. Needless to say, Park is running out of time to earn a job. John Maine will start for the other squad that travels to Jupiter to face the Marlins.