PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Matt Harvey wants to surpass the 200-inning mark this season, but to do that, he'll need a lot of outings like his third start of the spring.
The Mets right-hander was nearly perfect while tossing 4 1/3 shutout innings in a 4-1 win over the Marlins on Thursday.Harvey's only baserunner reached on an error. He struck out five batters and threw 35 of 48 pitches for strikes."When you talk about if this guy can pitch 215 innings, that means he is getting deep into games, and the only way to do that is by doing what he did today and that is pitching to contact, knowing you've got to get a strikeout but could get some easy outs," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "He's on a mission to be real good."Harvey said he wasn't happy with the number of balls he threw in his last outing -- when he gave up a run and three hits in 2 2/3 innings -- so he focused on throwing more strikes Thursday and relying on some help from his teammates."After looking at last week's poor strike-to-ball ratio, I definitely wanted to go out and pound the zone. All the guys, they made every play, so throwing strikes was kind of easy when they are out there making every play," Harvey said. "It was just staying in line a little better. Watching film from last week, I was rushing a little bit, kind of crossing my body a little bit, throwing across, but today, I was on the line pretty much every single time. That's definitely a plus and a good start for the next six or seven months, whatever it is."Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco was almost as impressive, giving up an unearned run and three hits, while striking out six batters over 3 2/3 innings.His only blip came in the second inning when he gave up singles to Marlon Byrd and Anthony Recker with Recker's bringing in a run."Just trying to stretch out and get a feel for all my pitches," Nolasco said. "My breaking pitches are sharper than normal early in the camp. I've been working on it and expect it to get better. All is good so far. I threw everything, got a lot of swings and misses on a lot of different pitches."Manager Mike Redmond officially chose Nolasco as the Marlins' opening day starter."He's done a nice job over his starts of throwing strikes and commanding his off-speed pitches," Redmond said.The Marlins have more to be concerned about offensively, as they managed just two hits against the Mets -- one of them coming on J.T. Realmuto's home run in the ninth inning.New York finished with nine hits, including two each from Ike Davis and Matt den Dekker. Davis had a double and den Dekker homered in the fifth inning.Mets lefthander Pedro Feliciano, who continues to wear a monitor on his chest to keep track of an irregular heartbeat, retired the two lefty batters he faced after replacing Harvey in the fifth.
Redmond said Justin Ruggiano is aiming to make his first spring training appearance on Saturday against the St. Louis Cardinals. Ruggiano, originally considered the front-runner to start in center field, has been sidelined with a tight back. . Marlins outfield prospect Jake Marisnick might still be out a couple of days from playing after getting hit in the left hand by a pitch Wednesday. . Mets closer Frank Francisco said he expects to throw from a mound for the first time this spring in "two or three days." Francisco was shut down at the beginning of camp with the same right elbow inflammation that ended his season Sept. 16 and ultimately led to December surgery to remove bone spurs. He resumed throwing Feb. 25 from flat ground and completed a long toss session from 130 feet on Thursday. . Mets prospect Zack Wheeler got on a mound Thursday for the first time since he was scratched from a start eight days earlier with a strained oblique muscle. He threw 35 pitches and said he felt good. . Collins said Jenrry Mejia (thyroid issue) "is fine" and will have no limitations upon returning to camp. He was scratched from a B game Tuesday and flown to New York for testing after his physical was flagged for an irregularity.