PORT ST. LUCIE -- After a rocky World Baseball Classic and a poor start last time out, Oliver Perez needed a good outing to ease the worries of his manager and pitching coach.
Perez had his most encouraging outing of spring training, allowing four hits and one run in 6 2-3 innings as the New York Mets beat the Baltimore Orioles 2-1 on Monday night."I thought he was under control tonight," Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen said. "His hard work in between starts paid off quite nicely. His velocity was up, he spiked a few breaking balls, but his cutter was good, his change-up was good -- a very positive outing for Oliver."It was an important outing for the inconsistent left-hander, who re-signed with the Mets as a free agent in the offseason."I think it was something he needed to witness as well as we did," manager Jerry Manuel said. "We like to see good outings and he showed us that. Ollie has been a guy who has pitched obviously at this level, some very big games and I just thought tonight he was pretty consistent."It was also a good day for the Orioles' starter, Alfredo Simon. The right-hander, competing for a spot in the rotation, allowed one run and four hits in six innings.The Mets got another strong outing from the bullpen with J.J. Putz throwing 1 1-3 innings of scoreless relief, followed by Bobby Parnell, who got the save and lowered his spring ERA to 2.19.Putz has yet to allow an earned run this spring.Daniel Murphy went 2-for-4 with a home run Monday night, raising his average to .364 this spring. Before the game, Manuel said Murphy will likely bat second in the lineup against righties and lefties, with second baseman Luis Castillo batting eighth."I'm really leaning toward (Murphy) being the No. 2 guy," Manuel said. "Not that Luie has not done well, I think Luie is doing very well. But Murphy, so far, has seemed to be one of those hitters you want up as many times as you can in the course of a game and for us it kinds of fits very well in that No. 2 spot."Adam Jones hit his third homer of the spring for Baltimore.
Manuel confirmed that RHP Livan Hernandez will be the team's fifth starter. ... The Mets signed LHP Ken Takahashi to a minor-league contract . The 39-year-old appeared in one game this spring with Toronto, working 1 2-3 innings and allowing four hits and two runs. He went 8-5 with a 3.50 ERA in 20 starts for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp in 2008. He will star the season at Triple-A.