LAS VEGAS -- Despite surrendering two home runs to Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, veteran right-hander Bartolo Colon continued to impress Mets manager Terry Collins on Saturday in New York’s 9-4 exhibition win over Chicago before 9,106 at Las Vegas’ Cashman Field.
“He’s exactly what he’s been advertised. A strike throwing machine,” Collins said. “If you go back and look at the pitches he used per hitter, the first time up, Rizzo saw five pitches. Nobody else saw more than three. That’s what he does.”
In his second spring start, Colon allowed four runs on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings, with no strikeouts and one walk.
Rizzo hit a solo shot on a 3-1 pitch in the second, then connected for a two-run blast in the fourth on an 0-0 offering.
“He got behind in one count and the second time he tried to go away and got it up,” Collins said of Colon, the 2005 American League Cy Young Award winner who compiled a career-low 2.65 ERA for Oakland last season before agreeing to a $20 million, two-year contract with the Mets.
At 5-feet-11 and 265 pounds, Colon is anything but an impressive physical specimen. But he was quick on his feet in the fifth, when he snared a hot shot back to the mound by Cubs left fielder Matt Szczur and threw him out at first base.
“Don’t get caught up in the fact this guy’s a big man,” Collins said. “He has quick feet. ... He’s going to help us. He’s going to make a big difference.”
Collins also was impressed with right-hander Cory Mazzoni, who struck out the side in the seventh in his only inning of work.
“That’s the best we’ve seen him throw, in two camps,” he said. “His stuff plays. He’s got three plus big league pitches. He throws 94-95. He’s got a great split, a good curveball and location -- when he gets to where he knows where it’s going -- he’s going to pitch in the big leagues for a long time.”
What’s next: Jenrry Mejia opposes Cubs left-hander Chris Rusin at 4:05 p.m. ET Sunday as the Mets wrap up a two-game series at Cashman Field in Las Vegas. Mejia is trying to unseat front-runner Daisuke Matsuzaka for the final slot in the rotation, but very well may end up in Triple-A Las Vegas’ rotation with Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom to open the season.