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Positive signs from Mejia, Martinez in opener

Positive signs from Mejia, Martinez in opener

Positive signs from Mejia, Martinez in opener
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Despite some wildness, Jenrry Mejia had a positive Grapefruit League debut in the Mets' 5-5 tie with the Braves on Saturday.

Pitching the opening game of the Mets' spring schedule, Mejia allowed one run in two innings, striking out three and hitting 94 mph on the Digital Domain Park radar gun. Mejia, who will almost certainly begin the regular season at Triple-A Buffalo, walked one batter and allowed his only run on the second of his two wild pitches.

"I feel pretty good, because when I was in the big leagues last year, my breaking ball wasn't too good," Mejia said. "When I went back to the Dominican Republic, I worked hard on my breaking ball."

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Eric Hinske hit a solo homer off reliever Pedro Beato to give the Braves a two-run lead in the fourth, but the Mets battled back for two runs -- on a Fernando Martinez homer -- off closer candidate Craig Kimbrel in the fifth.

Ed Lucas put the Braves ahead with an RBI single off New York's Manny Acosta in the top of the ninth, but Jordany Valdespin's RBI single in the bottom of the frame knotted the score again.

In the top of the 10th, Jose Constanza scored the go-ahead run on a fielder's choice following J.C. Boscan's bunt, but once again, the Mets came from behind, with Willie Harris' two-run homer tying the game.

Making his first game appearance since last July, Mets outfielder Jason Bay finished 1-for-2 with a single.

Braves starter Jair Jurrjens fired two shutout innings, allowing two hits and striking out one. Rookie first baseman Freddie Freeman enjoyed a fast start to his spring, finishing 3-for-3 with three doubles.

Up next: Chipper Jones is expected to make his exhibition season debut when he serves as the designated hitter during Sunday afternoon's game against the Mets at Disney. The 38-year-old third baseman is slowly easing himself into full-time action while strengthening his surgically repaired left knee. He tore his left ACL in August. This game will also give the three candidates for the fifth starter's spot a chance to heat up their competition. Rodrigo Lopez, Brandon Beachy and Mike Minor are all scheduled to throw two innings. Beachy and Minor are the favorites to win this rotation battle.

The Mets have some position battles of their own to watch on Sunday. Oliver Perez, aiming to score one of the team's few open roster spots, is scheduled to pitch in relief against the Braves. And second-base candidates Daniel Murphy and Justin Turner, who are battling Luis Castillo and Brad Emaus for the starting gig, will both make appearances. New addition Chris Young is scheduled to start the game at Disney while another new Met, Chris Capuano, will start the club's split-squad exhibition against the University of Michigan at Digital Domain Park.

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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