PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The 1,844 fans who filtered into Tradition Field on Sunday witnessed a bit of the present and a bit of the future.
First, the present: Jon Niese and Dillon Gee struck out three batters apiece, each allowing one run over two innings of a 5-2 victory against the University of Michigan. For Niese, the outing was a chance to shake off some rust -- he threw two wild pitches before settling down. For Gee, it was his first appearance since undergoing emergency surgery to remove a blood clot from his throwing shoulder last July. Then there was the future: top prospect Rafael Montero dazzled with two perfect innings, striking out one, and infielder Wilmer Flores hit a solo home run in the sixth.
Outfielder Marlon Byrd also hit a run-scoring single in the second inning for the Mets, who typically kick off each spring with a game against Michigan, principal owner Fred Wilpon's alma mater.