JUPITER, Fla. -- Left-handed relief continued to be a glaring issue Wednesday. With Josh Edgin in New York getting his balky elbow examined by team doctor David Altchek, alternative Scott Rice was charged with five seventh-inning runs (four earned) as the Marlins rallied to beat the Mets, 7-4, at Roger Dean Stadium.
New York Mets
Rice allowed three hits and two walks among the seven batters he faced. He had a throwing error on a pickoff attempt to exacerbate his troubles.
“He didn’t have very good command today,” manager Terry Collins said. “It’s not just command -- it’s the little things. He had a bad pickoff throw at second. And he does such a great job of controlling the running game.”
Before leaving Jupiter in the late afternoon, GM Sandy Alderson said he may have a further update on Edgin within a few hours.
Collins expects Syndergaard will follow Harvey again on Monday in Fort Myers, when the Mets face the Red Sox. Harvey is slated for 60 pitches and, ideally, four innings in that start.
“Warming up I felt my two-seamer was working pretty good,” Syndergaard said. “I wanted to throw it quite a bit since it had good movement on it. So I went out there and established the outside corner of the strike zone until they proved they could hit it. And once they started diving over the plate, I busted a fastball back in.”
What a relief: Dillon Gee continues to prep for a relief role. With four runs having scored in the seventh against Rice, Gee inherited a runner on third base with two outs. He allowed a run-scoring single to Scott Sizemore on an 0-2 pitch through the right side of the infield. Gee then retired the next four batters he faced.
“I wouldn’t say it’s difficult. It’s just different,” Gee said about relieving. “But I felt pretty comfortable today. I made a bad pitch selection. That doesn’t matter what part of the game you’re pitching in.
“The biggest thing to get used to for me so far is sitting for so long. You get kind of tight down there. I just tried my best. You know what Harvey is going to do. You know what Syndergaard was going to go today. I just try to make sure I’m ready after that at some point and gauge when I’m going to get in there. It’s different, but I think it’s something I can do.”
Said Collins: “I think he’s very awkward at it. ... It’s a whole different role for him. You could see as he came in that inning, he hung back-to-back sliders, which he never does. It’s a new phase in his game, and we’re going to continue to run him out there in those situations.”
Three company: Ruben Tejada, who had never played a game in the majors or minors at third base, started at the hot corner and produced. Tejada doubled in each of his first two at-bats. He also drew a bases-loaded walk in the seventh, which gave the Mets a brief 4-2 lead. Tejada finished the day 2-for-3 with two RBIs.
He had a mostly clean day at third base -- although Tejada was unable to charge in and get the ball to first base in time to retire Reid Brignac in the fifth, on a play David Wright may have barehanded.
Collins said he wants to give Tejada exposure to multiple infield positions given his projected utility role, although the manager does not plan to ever start Tejada at third base. Collins also wanted to get a good look at prospect Matt Reynolds (2-for-5, 2 Ks) at shortstop.
“The games he’s played he hasn’t gotten very much action,” Collins said about Reynolds, who is expected to open the season at Triple-A Las Vegas. “So I thought if I played him a whole game, maybe I could see more and see how he handles himself out there.”
Odds & ends: 2014 first-round pick Michael Conforto had a much quieter game in his second career Grapefruit League start. Conforto went 1-for-5 with three strikeouts. ... Travis d'Arnaud went hitless in three at-bats. That dropped his Grapefruit League average to .118 (2-for-17). ... Kirk Nieuwenhuis opened the game’s scoring with a first-inning RBI double against Henderson Alvarez. Nieuwenhuis finished 1-for-4 with a walk, dropping his sterling average to .476. He played a full game in center field. ... The Mets dropped to 3-6 in Grapefruit League play.
What’s next: The Mets face the Nationals at 1:10 p.m. Thursday at Tradition Field. Jacob deGrom opposes right-hander A.J. Cole. Steven Matz, Rafael Montero, Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia also are scheduled to pitch. Stephen Strasburg had been scheduled to start for the Nats, but instead will pitch in minor-league camp because of an ingrown toenail, according to D.C. media.