PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) -- Mike Pelfrey is comfortable facing major league hitters, putting himself in position to earn a spot in the New York Mets' starting rotation.
Pelfrey allowed one run in five innings Tuesday night in a 6-1 win against the Baltimore Orioles"Last year, when I came in here, I was kind of raw," he said. "I was worried about making perfect pitches. Now I'm feeling more comfortable, more relaxed. I guess you could say I trust my stuff a little more."Pelfrey gave up seven hits, struck out one and walked none. He threw 72 pitches in the game and another 18 in the bullpen following the outing.Pelfrey has given up just two earned runs in 14 innings as he competes with for a spot in the rotation with Chan Ho Park, Aaron Sele, Jason Vargas and Philip Humber. Only Tom Glavine and Orlando Hernandez are assured of spots."You think about it, but really I try not to worry about it," Pelfrey said. "I'm just going to go out and do as best as I can."Pelfrey was the Mets' first-round pick in the 2005 amateur draft and breezed through the minors in less than a year before making his major league debut on July 8. He finished with a 2-1 record and a 5.48 ERA in four starts. Last season, Pelfrey used a largely ineffective curveball, but scrapped the pitch for a slider this offseason. On Tuesday, he had strong command of his fastball."He's having a nice spring, and it's exciting to see the young pups doing well," Mets manager Willie Randolph said. "He's keeping the ball down in the zone and you can just see him maturing."Orioles starter Jaret Wright allowed two runs and two hits in four innings."He did good. He had good extension on his fastball," manager Sam Perlozzo said. "I thought he had a real nice breaking ball. He pitched off the plate with it. I thought he had good break. It was a good sign for him, good stuff."Wright struck out three and walked three."It's spring training and he's trying to get a feel for his pitches," Perlozzo said. "He threw some nice changeups. His curveball, I thought was good. Sometimes it was on the plate, and other times he was just missing with it."
OF Ruben Sierra was granted his release. He was reassigned to the minor league complex last week after batting .167 (4-for-24) with five RBI in exhibition games. ... Mets GM Omar Minaya said injured reliever Duaner Sanchez could throw off a mound as soon as next week, though admitted that though possible, it might be a stretch for Sanchez to be ready for opening day. ... Mets pitcher Jon Adkins, fighting for a bullpen spot, pitched a perfect inning. ... Carlos Beltran hit a two-run homer for the Mets. ... Melvin Mora and Brian Roberts had two hits apiece for the Orioles.