Mets 7, Astros 7

Matt Harvey made 10 impressive starts as a rookie last season
and he has a spot in the Mets’ rotation this year.

The 23-year-old right-hander is still not satisfied.

Harvey worked two innings in his spring debut for New York,
giving up two hits including a home run by former Mets outfielder
Fernando Martinez, and the Houston Astros scored late in a 7-7 tie
Sunday.

”I’m not guaranteed anything,” Harvey said. ”Until I get five
or six years in and sign a decent contract, then I can relax a
little more. I’m intent on coming to spring training and winning a
job and letting everybody know I belong.”

Harvey’s 2.73 ERA was the fourth-best for a Mets rookie and he
struck out 70 in 59 1-3 innings. He struck out three Sunday while
trying out some new things in February.

”It is nice knowing that I’ll be heading up north hopefully. I
can work on this stuff a lot more, whether it’s different counts,
different changeups, different sliders that I wouldn’t normally
throw during the season, and would like to throw during the
season,” he said. ”Now is the time to work on it. I do realize
that.”

Martinez’s home run was one of four in a game in which the
Astros came back from a 6-1 deficit.

George Springer drove in the tying run in the ninth but the game
was called because the Mets’ split squad ran out of pitchers. Much
of their team remained in Port St. Lucie to play the University of
Michigan.

Jamie Hoffmann homered off Houston starter Bud Norris for the
game’s first run, and Jordany Valdespin’s two-run homer put the
Mets up, 3-1, in the third inning.

After they stretched it to 6-1 with the help of Josh Satin’s
two-run double, a two-run homer by Jason Castro sparked the Astros’
comeback and impressed new manager Bo Porter.

”I think we’re now starting to see the Castro we all thought we
were getting when he got here,” Porter said.

The Astros catcher is coming back from a major knee injury in
2011 and lesser injuries last year.

”The first at-bat (a groundout) was my first of the spring and
I put a lot of intensity into it,” Castro said. ”The second one I
just tried to relax and it helped me free up my hands a little
bit.”

”I’m just trying to go through the process and the results will
come, but for me, especially this early, it’s about getting that
feeling back and working on that timing,” Castro added. ”It’s a
good place to start from.”

Norris, a candidate for Houston’s opening-day assignment, threw
no breaking balls in his two innings and was not upset by Hoffman’s
home run.

”It was decent pitch, a two-seamer down in,” he said. ”He put
a really good swing on it. He’s seen me a few times over the
years.”

Wilfredo Tovar’s RBI single regained a 7-6 lead for the Mets in
the eighth, but the Astros tied it in the ninth on infield hits by
Jake Elmore, Nate Freiman and George Springer.

NOTES: Lucas Duda struck out in all four of his at bats as the
Mets’ DH. … Satin played the whole game at first base for the
Mets, scored twice and had two doubles. … The Mets beat Michigan,
5-2. … Catcher Max Stassi will see a specialist about what the
Astros suspect might be a sports hernia.