PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The experiment that isn't an experiment -- Chan Ho Park in short relief -- didn't light the lights of the Mets on Monday night. Park allowed a two-run home run by Matt Kemp in the eighth inning of what became a 6-5 Mets victory against the Dodgers. He was pitching two days after his three-inning start and being told he had been reassigned to the bullpen.
Manager Willie Randolph said he wanted Park to attack the strike zone as he did in his perfect three-inning, 27-pitch start. But Park walked one and the allowed the homer that tied the score.
The Mets do want to see how Park handles short relief, but they have few alternatives. So even if the spring experiment is less than successful, he may still be a member of the seven-man 'pen to start the season.
At the same time, Joe Smith pitched effectively again, this time earning a save. He overcame an infield hit and a hit batsman -- on a 1-2 count -- and escaped with another strikeout of a left-handed batter.
Smith is to pitch against the Nationals in Viera, Fla., on Tuesday night as well. Pitching in successive games -- which has yet to do -- is another indication that he is a likely member of the Opening Day 'pen.
Lastings Milledge, struck in the right hand by pitch on Sunday, still had swelling and pain below the knuckle of his pinky and was unable to do anything other than conditioning on Monday. He is concerned that the time he will miss will cost him a chance to be on the Opening Day roster. ... The Mets optioned Jorge Sosa to Triple-A New Orleans on Monday, a move anticipated even before his poor performance -- six runs in two-thirds of an inning -- against the Astros on Sunday. His big-league camp produced an 8.53 ERA. The Mets will pay him $1.25 million to pitch in the Minor Leagues.
Oliver Perez makes his sixth start of the exhibition season at 7:05 p.m. ET on Tuesday night against the Nationals. Jerome Williams is to pitch for Washington.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.