Mets 9, Tigers 3
Edwin Jackson is setting himself up for a chance to be the Detroit Tigers' opening day starter. All he cares about is getting the ball every five days. Jackson, acquired in an offseason trade with the Tampa Bay Rays, pitched into the fifth inning for the Tigers in a 9-3 loss to the New York Mets on Friday and gave up homers to Cory Sullivan and Jose Valentin. "Whatever they tell me," Jackson said. "It would be great, but I just want the ball whenever I can get it." Jackson threw three hitless innings before giving up the homers in the fourth. Tigers Manager Jim Leyland sent Jackson out for the fifth, the first Tigers' pitcher to go that far this spring, then pulled him after his 60th pitch. "He threw the ball fine," Leyland said. "Sometimes he gets a little fastball happy, but I liked the way he threw. He walked a couple of batters, but his control was fine. He was great with his pitch count so we wanted to give him another inning." Mets starter Freddy Garcia, competing for the fifth spot in the rotation, was shaky in his fourth outing of the spring. He is recovering from reconstructive shoulder surgery and was hit hard in his first two starts, but threw two shutout innings against the University of Michigan on Sunday. On Friday, Garcia worked 2 1-3 innings and allowed two runs, including a homer by Tigers shortstop Adam Everett. Garcia said he felt good and was just hoping for a chance. He pitched in three games for the Tigers last season to start his comeback bid and signed a free agent deal with the Mets in January. "I will be 100 percent by the end of spring training," Garcia said. "I am just taking my time. If it doesn't work out, that's baseball." Garcia is fighting with Jonathon Niese, Livan Hernandez and Tim Redding for the final spot in the Mets rotation. Hernandez will pitch on Saturday against the Washington Nationals. Mets manager Jerry Manuel was noncommittal. "We are just trying to find whatever works for us," Manuel said. "He's pitching and getting better each time out. That's about it." The Mets tied the score at 2 in the fourth on the homers and broke it open with four in the fifth off Jackson and Freddy Dolsi. Daniel Murphy had three hits and a two-run double to lead the Mets who had 14 hits. The Tigers had only five hits. Notes: Tigers outfielder Marcus Thames is still hurting with an abdominal strain and will miss at least a week, Leyland said. He said Thames' condition is improving but he wasn't going to rush anything ... Jeremy Bonderman will start an intrasquad game Saturday morning. It will be his first live action during his rehabilitation attempt after shoulder soreness. Reliever Joel Zumaya was also scheduled to pitching in the game but Leyland scratched him after Zumaya complained of spasms in his shoulder. Leyland said there was no target date for his return.