Mets Notebook: Bannister's chances helped

Mets Notebook for March 20 -- Brian Bannister continues his pursuit of a trip north ... Pedro Martinez doesn't think April 3 is an inflexible deadline ... Jorge Julio tries to regain his form ...

  • Last game: Marlins 5, Mets 0. One would imagine the Mets saw plenty of what they'd hoped to on Sunday, pushing Tom Glavine to a simulated game so that Brian Bannister could log five more innings in his pursuit to make the rotation.

    Bannister didn't disappoint, allowing two runs (one earned) on two hits while walking none and striking out three. He said he realizes he was slated to head back to Triple-A after Spring Training, and making the Mets' decision a tough one is the best credit he can get.

    The Mets didn't put up much offense in the contest, scattering eight hits but plating no runs against five Marlins pitchers. But one ex-Met did – Mike Jacobs, dealt to the Marlins in the Carlos Delgado trade, slugged a two-run homer in the eighth off Jorge Julio.

  • Aiming for later?: April 3 appears to be a flexible deadline for Pedro Martinez. The Mets' ace threw 50 pitches in a simulated game on Sunday, but with his right big toe still barking, he doesn't appear married to the idea of making the Opening Day start at Shea Stadium.

    "We have plenty of starters who can do that," Martinez said. "What's the rush to see Pedro Martinez on Opening Day? It makes no sense. If I'm going to pitch on the third day, what difference does it make?"

    Martinez may be limited to as few as one Grapefruit League start because of the slowly-progressing toe.

    Meanwhile, it might have just been another day of Pedro getting his work in, but as Jim Burt, Jr. told reporters, "For us, it was the World Series." At least, it was for Burt. He took Martinez deep.

  • Getting back: It wasn't long ago that Jorge Julio was the Baltimore Orioles' best hope in the ninth inning of games, called upon to get the last three outs of any O's win. So what happened? Ben Shpigel of The New York Times takes a closer look at Julio's career since then, and his hopes to rebound with the Mets.

  • Minor moves: Henry Owens' Cinderella quest to make the Mets out of Spring Training appears to be over. Owens had spoken numerous times about wanting to surprise everybody and go north with the team, but he was re-assigned to minor league camp Sunday along with pitchers John Maine, Matt Perisho, Steve Schmoll, infielder Juan Tejeda and outfielder Julio Ramirez.

  • End of the line: Al Leiter called it a career on Sunday, returning from the World Baseball Classic to face one batter and then walking off the field to a standing ovation.

  • Coming up: Hopefully, the players enjoy it, because Monday marks their lone off-day of the spring. They'll be back in action Tuesday against the Orioles in Fort Lauderdale, with Victor Zambrano on the mound at 1:05 p.m. ET.

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