Around the NL East March 11

The Mets sent shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera to New York from Port St. Lucie, Fla., for further tests after an MRI revealed a strained patella tendon in his left knee. The Mets said he sustained the injury Thursday running from first base to second base in their game against the Cardinals.

Cabrera will be held out of action for two weeks, putting in jeopardy his availability to start the Mets’ season opener April 3 on the road against the Royals.

“(Cabrera) may not be ready for opening day,” general manager Sandy Alderson told “That’s one of the reasons we have the depth on our roster that we have now, but if he’s ready in three or four weeks — essentially the first week of the season — then we’ll be in pretty good shape.”

The Mets signed Cabrera in December with the idea that he would be the team’s starting shortstop this season, teaming with Neil Walker, also signed as a free agent in the offseason, to give the team a new middle-infield combo.


Ryan Howard is hitting .083 this spring, heading into what may be his last season with the Phillies. Despite that, he joined in the barrage of hits off of former Phillie Kyle Kendrick in Friday’s game against the Braves.

Howard had one of the three first-inning doubles, when the Phillies scored three runs. Howard’s double drove in two of the runs.

Howard played DH in his return to the lineup for the first time since March 4.

“I told him, ‘You should not take batting practice all year,’” manager Pete Mackanin told “He hadn’t had an at-bat in a week, and that’s as good as he’s looked in awhile. So I’m real happy about that.

“I’d like to play him tomorrow at first base to try to catch up. He swung the bat real well.”


Jarred Cosart made his first start of the spring and pitched two scoreless innings as the Marlins defeated the Twins 6-5. Cosart allowed one hit and one walk, and he recorded one strikeout.

“I had a lot more adrenaline than I thought I would for a spring-training game,“ Cosart said to “It’s not a huge park, but the crowd kind of is on top of you, so it felt pretty close to a real game. It was good to just get back into the swing of things and get my feet back wet.”

Cosart made a relief appearance March 4, allow one hit and a walk, but no runs. He struck out three.

His first start was delayed by a knee injury.

If healthy, Cosart is competing for a spot in the Marlins’s rotation and projects to be the No. 4 starter this season. He was 2-5 with a 4.52 ERA last season.


Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon, coming off a sick day Thursday, failed to close the deal Friday. He inherited a 9-1 lead going to the ninth inning against the Mets, but according to the Washington Post, he threw six consecutive balls to start the inning, walked two batters and allowed a single to load the bases with no outs.

Overall, he lasted two-thirds of an inning and gave up four runs on two hits, with three walks. A pitch count led to manager Dusty Baker yanking Papelbon before matters got worse, the Post reported.