Hairston impresses in first Mets action

Hairston impresses in first Mets action

Hairston impresses in first Mets action
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- It took Scott Hairston precisely one at-bat to endear himself to his new team.

Leading off in the Mets' annual intrasquad game at Digital Domain Park on Friday, Hairston smacked a D.J. Carrasco curveball over the left-field wall for a homer. Two innings later, he took Tim Byrdak deep for his second home run of the game.

"Not bad," Hairston said with a grin. "It felt good today."

Considered a safe bet to land one of two backup jobs in New York's outfield, Hairston is nonetheless aiming to impress his new manager, Terry Collins, in Spring Training.

"I hope I can fulfill that role," Hairston said. "I'm not thinking too much about my role yet. I'm just trying to prepare myself."

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A late rally Friday, capped by Justin Turner's go-ahead sacrifice fly in the sixth, prevented Hairston's team from winning the six-inning intrasquad game. But the Mets were far more interested in the individual performances of their players -- particularly of their new additions.

Carrasco, after allowing Hairston's homer, struck out four consecutive batters and did not allow another hit in two innings. Second baseman Brad Emaus finished 1-for-3 with a strikeout, while one of his direct competitors for the starting job, Daniel Murphy, was 0-for-1 in three innings. Willie Harris, the other favorite for a backup outfield job, hit a solo home run in the sixth. And Ryota Igarashi cruised through two perfect innings, striking out two.

"He had real good zip and a little run at the end, too," Hairston said of Igarashi. "He spotted his fastball really well and had a really good breaking ball, too."

Perhaps a long shot to make the team over the likes of Pedro Beato, Manny Acosta and other hard-throwing bullpen candidates, Igarashi has nonetheless impressed the Mets so far this spring.

"I'm no longer thinking about the injuries," Igarashi said through an interpreter, referring to the strained left hamstring that ended a similar run of success last April. "Last year was last year. This year, I talked to [manager] Terry Collins, and he knows that Japanese pitchers like to throw a lot. He's been very flexible."