Last game – Cardinals 9, Mets 6: Pedro Martinez’s final Spring Training effort before heading north quickly turned into the Albert Pujols show, as the St. Louis slugger went deep three times in the contest, including once off of Martinez.
With Martinez leaving the contest after 88 pitches in four innings, Pujols’ other two home runs came off of Victor Zambrano, who was lifted from the game in the seventh inning with an apparent left hamstring injury.
“I felt something in my hamstring, so I just preferred to get out of the game,” Zambrano told reporters.
That puts his status for Wednesday’s start against the Washington Nationals in doubt, though Zambrano – who allowed six earned runs in 2-2/3 innings Friday -- will be re-examined on Saturday.
Brian Bannister, slated to open the season as New York’s fifth starter, has been told to prepare as though he will be pitching on Wednesday. Bannister had originally been scheduled to stay behind in Florida and pitch in a minor league game, as the Mets will not need a fifth starter until April 9 against the Marlins.
Final moves: Willie Randolph announced Friday that the team has come to decisions on their Opening Day roster, barring any possible move that may need to be made with Zambrano.
The Mets will take Victor Diaz north as an extra outfielder, opting for left-handed reliever Pedro Feliciano in the bullpen as the team’s 11th pitcher.
That was a great relief to Diaz, who feared assignment to Triple-A Norfolk, but it also means pitchers Heath Bell, Yusaku Iriki, Jose Lima and Darren Oliver all missed the cut and were re-assigned to minor league camp.
Lima, 33, told reporters Friday that he would accept an assignment to Triple-A Norfolk, believing that staying with the Mets would represent his best chance to get back to the Major Leagues.
Oliver, 35, had yet to be notified of the decision as of Friday night, as he was traveling to California where his mother was scheduled to undergo surgery.
Coming up: The Mets will travel north after Saturday’s 12:05 p.m. ET exhibition against the St. Louis Cardinals in Jupiter, putting the wraps on their 2006 Grapefruit League season.
New York is assured of at least a .500 finish in Spring Training, having posted a 15-14-1 record to date.
The team has a morning workout at Shea Stadium on Sunday and will open the season on Monday against the Nationals.