Mets lose to Washington Nationals

March 7, 2009 6:19:54 PM PST
Washington Nationals pitcher Scott Olsen had good reason to be disappointed with his second Grapefruit League start Saturday. Facing a New York Mets lineup that included only one projected starter, Olsen gave up two runs and six hits with no strikeouts and two walks in three innings of a 7-5 win for the Nationals.

The left-hander pitched two scoreless innings in his debut March 1.

"It was worse than the last start," Olsen said. "We battled control. Everything was kind of up in the zone as a whole, fastballs and changeups. ... I was up in the zone in warmups, too.

We just couldn't make the adjustment at all throughout the day."

Olsen threw 50 pitches, 30 for strikes. Though he wasn't pleased with the outing, he isn't concerned because his arm feels strong.

He was one of 18 NL pitchers to reach 200 innings last season, when he went 8-11 with a 4.20 ERA for Florida.

"Results in spring training are second hand," Olsen said. "We are trying to stay healthy coming out of here, and just gauge how you feel. We have some work to do from today, but we'll take the necessary steps forward and move on."

As for the Mets, pitcher Mike Pelfrey will be out indefinitely with a muscle strain in his lower left leg. He was examined by team doctors Saturday after feeling discomfort following a bullpen session Friday and was instructed to rest, which means he will miss his next scheduled start Monday.

New York starter Dillon Gee, reassigned to minor league camp on Friday, got through his two innings without allowing a hit or run.

Only a walk spoiled his otherwise perfect outing, which included two strikeouts.

It was the bullpen that struggled for the Mets, and manager Jerry Manuel didn't have many positives to point out except that Daniel Murphy and Bobby Kielty got extra-base hits off a lefty.

Murphy is slated to start in left field, but the switch-hitting Kielty is attempting to win a bench spot on a team that could use another right-handed bat. Kielty went 2-for-3 against the Nationals and is batting .250 this spring with a double, a home run and six RBIs in 12 at-bats.

"Kielty has really been impressive with his strength versus left-handed pitching," Manuel said. "He is really making a loud sound - the kind that when you have a bad game, he'll wake you up."

Notes: Manuel expects 2B Luis Castillo to return to the lineup Sunday. He was pulled in the fifth inning of Friday's 5-4 win over the Cardinals with a tight left hamstring. ... Nationals pitcher Shawn Hill learned Friday that he has no structural damage in his sore right forearm, and the team announced his upcoming schedule Saturday. He will play catch on Monday and Wednesday, have a bullpen session next Sunday and then pitch in a game shortly after that. ... The Nationals expect outfielder Austin Kearns to play in a game against the Mets on Sunday. He has been out with a blister on his hand since Feb. 25.