Mike Pelfrey faces the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday, and attempts to bounce back from a woeful first portion of the Grapefruit League season that included allowing eight runs in 2 2/3 innings against the Houston Astros in his most-recent start. Jon Rauch, Frank Francisco, Bobby Parnell , Josh Edgin and Daniel Herrera also are scheduled to pitch for the Mets. Lance Lynn starts for St. Louis. Lynn is replacing injured Chris Carpenter in the Cards' rotation.
Saturday's news reports:
• With the Mets' outfield depth depleted by injuries to Andres Torres (calf) and Scott Hairston (oblique) as well as to Kirk Nieuwenhuis (oblique) in minor league camp, Matt den Dekker returned to major league camp. Den Dekker, a deft-fielding center fielder who was selected in the fifth round in 2010 out of the University of Florida, had been dispatched to the minor league side March 15, in the first round of cuts. Terry Collins called den Dekker a "legitimate consideration" for the Opening Day roster, but that likely would require both Torres and Hairston being unavailable and perhaps other dominoes falling as well.
Mike Baxter received Friday's start in center field as the Mets lost to the Atlanta Braves, 9-4. Baxter went 2-for-2 with a walk and two RBIs and has produced more than Adam Loewen, the competition for the backup lefty-hitting outfield role. Baxter is now hitting .343 in Grapefruit League play, while Loewen is hitting .242 and has struck out 17 times in 33 at-bats.
Jon Niese, meanwhile, allowed four runs in four innings in the loss to the Braves, including consecutive triples to open the bottom of the first inning.
• D.J. Carrasco (twisted right ankle) tells Anthony DiComo on the Mets' web site that it does not seem likely he will be ready for Opening Day because he is having trouble fielding during drills. He said he had not shared that issue with trainer Ray Ramirez or pitching coach Dan Warthen. Warthen, unaware, expressed hope Carrasco could be in a minor league game Sunday. "I still can't field my position yet," Carrasco said. "You've got to be able to go 100 percent [on] everything, not just throwing."
Here's the Mets lineup that will face the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday at Digital Domain Park:
Jordany Valdespin, 2b
Ronny Cedeno, ss
Jason Bay, lf
Ike Davis, 3b
Lucas Duda, rf
Justin Turner, 3b
Matt den Dekker, cf
Mike Nickeas, c
Mike Pelfrey, rhp