Devil Rays 8, Mets 3

Preview | Box Score | Recap

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)—Mike Pelfrey wasn’t going to let one poor outing ruin an otherwise outstanding spring.

The New York Mets right-hander, who earned the fifth starter’s spot in a shaky rotation with a solid camp for the NL East champions, was rocked for eight runs and 10 hits in four innings of an 8-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Saturday.

Ty Wigginton hit a three-run, first-inning homer and Elijah Dukes drove in two with a third-inning single for the Devil Rays.

“I just told myself that tomorrow is a new day. Everybody starts with a zero ERA,” the 23-year-old Pelfrey said. “I was joking around that maybe I’m just not meant to pitch in domes. This is the first time I’ve ever done it.”

The Mets open the season at St. Louis on Sunday night.

Pelfrey won’t be there, though. The Mets will not need a fifth starter the first week of the season, so the 2005 first-round draft pick will remain behind to work in extended spring training and likely make a minor league start before joining the rotation.

“He was a little bit frazzled today, I guess you could say,” Mets manager Willie Randolph said. “It looked like he was overthrowing the ball a little bit, like he was trying to do a little bit too much. Young players do that sometimes.”

Pelfrey walked one, hit two batters and also was charged with a wild pitch. He threw 95 pitches, 57 strikes.

In five previous appearances, he allowed eight runs—six earned—in 19 innings.

“Mechanically, I didn’t feel right,” said Pelfrey, whose spring training ERA climbed from 2.84 to 5.48.

“My game is the sinker, and my ball was flat today. It wasn’t sinking. It was flat and it was up,” he added. “I did a terrible job in making an adjustment and executing pitches. I’m just going to learn from it and move on.”

Randolph wasn’t concerned.

“He got it out of his system,” the manager said. “He’s going to go through periods where if you don’t make your pitches, you’ve got to make adjustments. That’s all part of growing. He was all over the place and just didn’t seem to make any adjustments.”

Devil Rays starter James Shields allowed three runs and four hits in five innings, including home runs by Carlos Delgado and Jose Valentin.

Tampa Bay opens Monday at Yankee Stadium and plays 10 of its first 13 games on the road. That’s a challenge for a team that won three games away from home after July 1 last season.

“There’s no ducking anyone. Before the season is over, you play everyone,” Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “We’ve been playing well lately. We’re ready for it.”


The Devil Rays optioned 2B Jorge Cantu and C Shawn Riggans to Triple-A Durham. C Raul Casanova, OF Dustan Mohr and INF Jorge Velandia were reassigned to minor league camp. DH Greg Norton will undergo surgery Monday on a torn meniscus in his right knee and was placed on the 15-day disabled list. He’s will be sidelined 4-to-6 weeks. 1B Carlos Pena, reassigned to minor league camp on Friday, likely will return to fill Norton’s spot.

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