Atlanta Braves' Erick Aybar, right, slides into third base as New York Mets shortstop Wilmer Flores waits for the ball to make the tag during the fifth inning of a spring training baseball game, Tuesday, March 8, 2016, in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/John Ra
John Raoux
March 08, 2016

KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) Matt Harvey's first appearance of spring training was more low key than a year ago.

That's just fine with Harvey.

The right-hander went three innings in his first appearance since Game 5 of the World Series as the New York Mets lost to the Atlanta Braves 5-4 on Tuesday.

''It's nice not hearing `How does your arm feel?' all the time,'' said Harvey, who was coming back from Tommy John surgery and a 19-month recovery period last spring training.

He threw 24 of 41 pitches for strikes and surrendered three hits, walked two and gave up one run.

''Last year, I was pretty excited to get back in there and let it all out,'' Harvey said. ''This spring training, I definitely think we all realize that there's still a lot of time to go and work to be done to get where you need to be.''

The Mets scored three runs in the fourth against prospect Sean Newcomb. Juan Lagares had a two-run single and Marc Krauss brought home another run with a hit to left.

Atlanta rallied with a two-run ninth against Zack Thornton. Emilio Bonifacio won it with a two-out, run-scoring single to center.

STARTING TIME

Mets: Harvey spent much of his outing working on a slider he largely abandoned early last season.

''It feels right where needs to be,'' he said. ''It's just about making it a little bit sharper.''

Braves: Wisler, on the other hand, focused on command of his fastball. Just two of his 17 pitches were breaking pitches.

''They were swinging pretty early, putting balls in in play and being aggressive,'' Wisler said. ''It went a lot quicker than we expected.''

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mets: OF Curtis Granderson is expected to play Wednesday against the Yankees after being sidelined for the past week by an eye problem. ''He put his contacts in today, so we'll see how he reacts,'' manager Terry Collins said. ''But right now, he's in the lineup.''

Braves: RHP Mike Foltynewicz hopes to get into his first spring training game late next week. Coming back from surgery to remove a blood clot in his pitching shoulder, he threw a 20 pitches during batting practice Monday. ... 1B Freddie Freeman was back in the lineup after sitting out the last two games. The Braves are bringing the slugger along slowly as he comes back from an ailing wrist.

DEFENSIVE GEM

Mets 2B Dilson Herrera started a nifty double play with a brilliant defensive play in the second inning.

With the bases loaded and only one out, Daniel Castro hit a sharp grounder up the middle. Herrera dove to knock it down and, in one motion, flipped the ball with his glove toward shortstop Ruben Tejada.

The ball landed next to the bag, but Tejada picked it up and threw on to first to end the inning.

SMITH BACK IN LINEUP

Outfield prospect Mallex Smith started for the Braves, one day after being pulled from the game for attempting a slash-bunt that the team wanted him to avoid.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez stressed that he didn't want to come down too hard on Smith, who has been impressive in the early days of spring training. He went 2-for-4 and scored two runs against the Mets, setting up the winning rally in the ninth with a leadoff double.

The Braves figure the 22-year-old Smith has other things he needs to work on before he tries to master a difficult bunting skill perfected by Ichiro Suzuki.

REMEMBERING FORDE

David Wright is the only Mets player scheduled to attend Wednesday's funeral service for Shannon Forde, the Mets senior director of media relations, who died at age 44 after a long battle with breast cancer.

The Mets will have memorial services for Forde at Citi Field on Wednesday and in Port St. Lucie on Thursday.

NEWCOMB ROCKED AGAIN

Sean Newcomb is one Atlanta's top pitching prospects, but it's clear the left-hander needs a bit more seasoning before he's ready for the majors.

The 22-year-old had his second straight rough outing after coming on in relief for the fourth inning. He retired only two hitters, giving up three hits, three runs and walking two.

In two spring appearances, he's surrendered six runs and walked six in 1 2-3 innings.

UP NEXT

Mets: RHP Jacob deGrom makes his spring training debut against the New York Yankees on Wednesday in Port St. Lucie. New York skipped its front-line starters at the beginning of spring training, wanting to give them a little extra rest after their heavy postseason workload.

Braves: RHP Julio Teheran gets his first spring start against the Houston Astros in Kissimmee.

---

Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 . His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/paul-newberry .

You May Like