PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- While the Mets continue their search for a healthy third baseman, the Marlins appear to have found one.
In a game that saw the Mets lose infielder Justin Turner to injury, Miami third baseman Placido Polanco rapped out two hits in his return to the lineup. With many of their regulars making the Saturday afternoon road trip to Port St. Lucie, the Marlins parlayed Polanco's offense into a 4-2 victory at Tradition Field.
Starting at third base over the injured David Wright, Turner sprained his right ankle as he attempted to make a play on Justin Ruggiano's infield single in the fourth. Chris Coghlan then tripled home Ruggiano and Donovan Solano plated Coghlan on a groundout, giving the Marlins their only runs against Mets starter Shaun Marcum.
Making his third Grapefruit League start, Marcum allowed one walk and five hits over four innings, striking out no one. The Mets also received a scoreless inning of relief from Pedro Feliciano. In his bid to make the Opening Day roster as a lefty specialist, Feliciano has not allowed a run over his first four Grapefruit League appearances.
"My mechanics are starting to feel a lot better," Marcum said. "I feel like I'm starting to repeat them a lot more. Other than that, now it's just starting to mix in my other pitches."
Marlins starter Henderson Alvarez lasted 3 2/3 innings, giving up nothing more than Lucas Duda's RBI groundout.
Battling a strained oblique muscle for most of this spring, Polanco had not appeared in a Grapefruit League game since March 1. His 2-for-3 effort Saturday raised his spring average to .462.
The Mets and Marlins traded runs in the seventh on Chone Figgins' RBI single off Greg Burke and Omar Quintanilla's run-scoring groundout against Kevin Slowey, who relieved Alvarez with 3 1/3 strong innings. Christian Yelich hit a solo home run in the top of the eighth to give the Marlins a two-run lead
Up next: Remaining on track to pitch Opening Day, Jon Niese will start the Mets' 1:10 p.m. ET game Sunday against the Braves. It is now a near certainty that Johan Santana will not be healthy enough to pitch on April 1, making Niese the choice for the Mets. He will oppose Braves right-hander Julio Teheran at Tradition Field.