Mets Minors: Matt Harvey shines in debut

Opening weekend was good for Mets minor league starting pitchers. Three of the four starters on Opening Day pitched five scoreless innings apiece, including an outstanding outing by 2010 first-rounder Matt Harvey.

Top prospect Jenrry Mejia tossed six scoreless innings in his AAA season debut at Buffalo, the Class AA Binghamton Mets’ first four starters combined to allow just one earned run in 20 innings, but the best piece of pitching was authored by Class A St. Lucie Mets righthander Jeurys Familia, who faced the minimum through seven innings Friday against West Palm Beach.

Familia allowed just a one-out, third-inning single but the next batter hit into a double play. The 21-year-old struck out seven.

Mejia pitched six scoreless innings Saturday against Pawtucket, giving up just three hits with two walks and six strikeouts. He threw 88 pitches, 49 for strikes.

“They weren’t just six innings, they were quality,” manager Tim Teufel told the Buffalo News. “He had a very good curve ball today. He showed that several times in key spots where he struck out a guy, and that’s part of his development. He had good feel tonight. He worked all his pitches in. He had a good balance of pitches and what jumped out for me was his curve ball. We’re waiting to see that on a consistent basis.”

Harvey couldn’t have had a better pro debut, pitching five scoreless innings with five hits, two walks and nine strikeouts on Opening Day at St. Lucie.

“It was good to get out there and finally throw, professionally that is,” Harvey told TCPalmBeach.com. “I had some adrenaline going. My body felt good, but I felt I over-thought it a bit early and tried to do a little bit too much in the first inning, I was just rushing my body a little bit. Sometimes when I feel good, I kind of rush my body out there and not let my arm catch up.”

Harvey allowed the first two batters of the game to reach, but picked one off. He loaded the bases with one out in the second before striking out the next two. He struck out five straight in one stretch.

“I thought he threw the ball extremely well,” said St. Lucie manager Pedro Lopez. “He got into a little trouble and didn’t have his best stuff tonight, but he pitched through tough situations. He’s a true professional who knows how to carry himself on and off the field.”

Gregory Peavey allowed just two hits and a walk with eight strikeouts in an Opening Day win at low Class A Savannah, and Josh Stinson also went five scoreless at Binghamton, yielding two hits and a walk with three strikeouts in a win at Akron. He was followed by Mark Cohoon, Brad Holt and Robert Carson, who all combined to yield two runs in 20 innings. The Mets split the first four games, however, because the offense could only muster 11 runs, a .177 average and no home runs.

OTHER WEEKEND NOTES FROM THE MINORS

Darrell Ceciliani, the New York Penn League batting champ in 2010, doubled and homered out of the leadoff spot Opening Day for Savannah and Cory Vaughn went 2-for-3 hitting third.

“As long as I’m moving up a level a year, I’m doing all right,” Ceciliani told Savannahnow.com

Ceciliani was 3-for-12 in the first three games and Vaughn 3-for-8.

“I haven’t been around (Ceciliani) a lot but I’ve been at several instructional camps with him. He’s a very good hitter, said Savannah manager Ryan Ellis. “He has a very good feel for the game, and he covers a lot of ground in center.”

“Obviously, (Single) A ball is not where I want to finish my career,” he said. “To get where I want to get, which is the major leagues, I’m going to have to work on my whole game. The two biggest things I want to put in effect this year are putting pressure on the defense, (with) bunting and base running.”

Center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit fifth Opening Night for Class Buffalo and homered in an 8-5 loss. Fernando Martinez went 4-for-5 batting third and playing center field. Nieuwenhuis has started 2-for-12 through four games, while Martinez went 0-for-9 after Opening Day.

Jordany Valdespin was the Opening Day shortstop at Class AA Binghamton. He went 3-for-15 in the first four games with two doubles and three steals.

Wilmer Flores played shortstop and hit third in the order for St. Lucie in the opener and Carlos Puello led off and played right field. Flores started 3-for-14 with six strikeouts and Puello is 2-for-18.

Second base prospect Reese Havens, on the Binghamton roster, is still not fully recovered from back surgery from the offseason and has not played.

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