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Wright, Taveras make spring debuts for Mets, Cards

(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

By JON SANTUCCI

Associated Press

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) David Wright said making his spring training debut wasn't exactly like getting back on a bike, but the New York Mets captain was happy to be back on the field.

"First game, everything feels a little awkward," Wright said Friday after going 0 for 3 in a 5-5 tie with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Wright hit into a pair of groundouts around a double-play grounder.

"It doesn't help all that much that the first guy you face is throwing 97," he said of the Cardinals' Carlos Martinez.

"But it's good. It's good to get out there and get the first one under your belt. I didn't get any balls hit to me at third, but three at-bats - at-bats where I got to see some pitches. I didn't really do much, but it was nice to get back out there and get in the swing of things, in the flow of things."

Mets manager Terry Collins decided during the offseason to hold out Wright and second baseman Daniel Murphy in the first week. The pair missed the bulk of spring training last year due to oblique injuries last year.

Wright isn't concerned about having enough time to get ready for the season.

"Starting the last week of spring training you want to start getting dialed in with your routine, trying to make it as close as you would to game-time in New York," he said.

St. Louis outfield prospect Oscar Taveras also made his spring traning debut, going 1 for 3 with a double and a run scored. Taveras had ankle surgery last August.

"Everything felt good coming out of the (batter's) box," Taveras said through an interpreter. "When I hit the double, I felt good. I didn't have any pain turning around the bases. This was my first game. I still have plenty of time to show I can get ready to play."

Matt Holliday and Kolten Wong each had three hits and drove in two runs for St. Louis. Holliday was 3 for 3 and Wong was 3 for 4 with a double and stolen base.

New York's Anthony Recker hit an opposite-field homer to right in the seventh against Alexander Reyes.

Martinez allowed one hit and walked one in three scoreless innings.

"He had a good outing again. He just looked electric again," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "He threw some good secondary pitches, but the fastball, I think, felt good to him."

Mets starter Daisuke Matsuzaka allowed two runs - one earned - and six hits in two innings and struck out two.

"There were a few unlucky hits that sort of dropped in and I just got through," Matsuzaka said through an interpreter. "But overall, in general, I think I was able to accomplish what I wanted to do today. I was able to improve on several things that needed improvement from my previous outing, including my slider."

To help decide whether the team should challenge a call Friday, the Mets had pitchers Dillon Gee, Zack Wheeler, Jon Niese and Jeremy Hefner watching a broadcast of the game on TV inside the clubhouse with a walkie-talkie to communicate with bench coach Bob Geren.

The Mets could have challenged a call in the third inning when Eric Young Jr. was called out trying to steal second base - replays showed he was safe - but the pitchers in the clubhouse didn't get to see any replays for a few minutes.

"We didn't miss it," Gee said. "They went straight to commercial. We thought he was safe, but we didn't see the replay until the next inning. That won't happen during the regular season. We'll have replays right away."

The Mets' first base competition continues to be held up by minor leg injuries. Ike Davis (calf) and Lucas Duda (hamstring) are both a couple days away from returning to exhibition play.

Davis has not played since Sunday and Duda has not played since Monday.

Updated March 7, 2014

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