Anderson Hernandez, Paul Lo Duca and Xavier Nady each stroked three hits, with Lo Duca driving in three runs and Nady batting out of a 1-for-28 slump. Nady said that a pre-game pep talk from Willie Randolph seemed to help, as his level of anxiousness had risen over the dry spell.
Nady still appears to be the front-runner to start in right field on Monday afternoon at Shea Stadium, though challenger Victor Diaz may have closed the gap some. The Mets are still undecided as to whether Diaz will start the year in New York or at Triple-A Norfolk.
The Mets did their early damage against Sidney Ponson, touching the former Oriole for four runs (three earned) and seven hits over four innings, then rudely welcomed former teammate Braden Looper back to Tradition Field.
Looper, who signed with the Cardinals as a free agent after the Mets showed little interest in bringing him back, failed to make it out of the fifth inning and was lifted with two outs. The Mets tagged Looper for two runs and three hits, with two walks and a strikeout.
Jose Lima allowed a run on four hits over two innings as his chances of making the team fade. If sent to Triple-A Norfolk, Lima said he would not report, effectively ending his time with the Mets.
Pedro Feliciano, who has a 4.05 ERA in six spring appearances, is considered to be Oliver's main challenger.
Anna Benson has filed for divorce from husband Kris, claiming their marriage was "irretrievably broken." Many speculate that Anna Benson had a lot to do with prompting the Mets' deal with the Baltimore Orioles for pitchers Jorge Julio and John Maine last winter.
For the record, the Mets always maintained that it was a baseball trade and not related to Anna Benson's outspoken nature or questionable wardrobe choices, such as during the Mets' holiday party when she showed up at Shea Stadium for a role as Mrs. Claus wearing a low-cut red satin dress.
In any event, Anna Benson's behavior and high profile didn't help cement Kris Benson's situation in the starting rotation.