Cardinals can’t get past Mets

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — David Wright got his delayed exhibition season off to a quick start.

After missing the first three weeks of spring training games because of strained left abdominal muscle, the New York Mets’ star went 1 for 2 and made a couple of nice plays at third base during Monday’s 6-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.

“I’m happy with how I feel,” Wright said after playing four innings. “I just have to get back into the swing of things now.”

Wright singled to left on a full-count pitch from Jake Westbrook in the first inning, then grounded out to shortstop in the fourth.

“I just got a good pitch to hit in a good count and found a hole,” Wright said. “I don’t think that’s an indication of my timing. I’m going to need more work on that.”

He dived to his right in the second inning to snag Rafael Furcal’s one hopper behind the bag, popped up and threw to first for the out. He also ranged to his left to snag a bouncing ball by Matt Holliday.

“It was an action-filled day over there,” Wright said. “I got a chance to dive around a little bit and run the bases a little bit, so that’s a good thing.”

Mets manager Terry Collins plans to hold Wright out of Tuesday’s game against Atlanta in Port St. Lucie.

“We’re going to give him tomorrow just to catch his breath, and then he’s going to go probably two-or three in a row,” Collins said. “One of those might be a minor league assignment, where he goes down and gets some at bats.”

New York hopes to get Wright about 30 at-bats before its season opener on April 5.

“I’m sure I’ll be a little sore, but it will be that good sore, like it’s the first game I’ve played in spring training,” he said.

A five-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner, Wright missed two months last season because of a stress fracture in his back. He hit a career-low.254 with 14 homers and 61 RBIs in 102 games.

New York holds a $16 million option for 2013 with a $1 million buyout. If he is traded, the option is voided. Wright’s contract does not include no-trade protection.

In his next-to-last start before the opener, former Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana needed 29 pitches to retire the Cardinals in the first. The left-hander walked three of his first four batters, and two of them scored. Coming in, Santana had only walked four batters in 13 1-3 innings during spring training as he prepares to return from shoulder surgery that caused him to miss 2011.

“It was just one of those days where things take a little longer,” Santana said. “I made some adjustments and was able to hit the inside corner and I was better after that.

Santana threw 88 pitches in five innings during his fifth start, allowing two runs and four hits. He struck out five, did not have a walk after the first inning, but he did hit a batter.

Holliday extended his hitting streak to 13 games with an RBI single. Tyler Greene’s sacrifice fly drove in the second run.

NOTES: The Mets said they will honor Gary Carter before their opener. The Hall of Famer, who helped them win the 1986 World Series, died Feb. 16. Wife Sandy, son D.J. and daughters Kimmy and Christy, and their families will be on the field during a moment of silence and for the ceremonial first pitch. … The Mets agreed to a minor league contract with LHP Chris Young, who is recovering from shoulder surgery last May. … RHP Chris Carpenter returned to Cardinals’ camp for the first time since four days worth of tests to determine the source of the nerve damage that is causing weakness in his pitching shoulder. … St. Louis reassigned OF Adron Chambers to its minor league camp.