JUPITER, Fla. -- Asdrubal Cabrera logged five innings at shortstop in his first Grapefruit League game since March 10 and Bartolo Colon again pitched effectively, but the New York Mets lost to the St. Louis Cardinals, 3-1, Monday at Roger Dean Stadium.
The Mets (7-14-5) are winless in 11 straight games.
Cabrera went 0-for-3. He had been sidelined with a strained patellar tendon in his left knee. He resumed playing last week as the designated hitter in minor league games.
Manager Terry Collins said Cabrera should get roughly 10 at-bats on the minor league side on Tuesday, then play in the Mets’ final three exhibition games.
“I felt really good today. My knee feels strong,” said Cabrera, who iced the left knee and both thighs after completing his duty.
Said Collins: “He handled himself fine. He said his legs are real heavy today. But, otherwise, I thought he took some good swings. He looked pretty comfortable, which is a good sign.”
Cabrera added that he will have no issue working with double-play partner Neil Walker, despite their limited repetitions together.
“Like I’ve said before, he’s a great second baseman,” Cabrera said. “So I don’t think we’ve got too much to work through.”
Colon allowed three runs on seven hits in six innings in his final tuneup for the regular season. The performance comes on the heels of Colon tossing six scoreless innings against the Toronto Blue Jays in his previous outing.
“The stuff I’ve been working on, I feel like I finally got that worked out -- my changeup,” Colon said through an interpreter. “So I feel good.”
Because Colon is not due to make his first regular-season start until the back end of the April 8-10 series against the Philadelphia Phillies, he has been told to be on standby to work out of the bullpen during the opening series in Kansas City.
“Which is fine for me,” Colon said. “It gives me some work to do.”
Of course, with Matt Harvey’s Opening Day start now in potential peril because of an undisclosed medical issue, things are now in further flux.
Meanwhile, Carlos Martinez limited the Mets to one run on three hits in six innings. Walker had a leadoff double in the second, advanced to third base on a wild pitch and scored on Alejandro De Aza’s groundout. That began a streak of 13 straight batters retired by Martinez, until Curtis Granderson's one-out double in the sixth.
Walden was making his first appearance since dealing with a mild lat issue. If he is healthy for Opening Day, that could prompt the Cardinals to return Rule 5 pick Matt Bowman to the Mets.