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Vazquez is happy with his outing against St. Louis

R.A. Dickey found something special in 2010 and would like for it to continue for the Mets in '11. Javier Vazquez couldn't find it last year for the Yankees, but has been working toward reclaiming his mojo as a member of the Marlins.

On Sunday afternoon in the finale of the three-game season-opening series between the two National League East rivals at Sun Life Stadium, both pitchers will take the ball for the first time in what could be pivotal personal campaigns.

For Dickey, the late-blooming knuckleballer who burst onto the national scene with an 11-9 record and a 2.84 ERA, proving his emergence was no fluke is more about making sure to keep focus on the big picture than harboring any chip on his right shoulder.

"I think it's important I continue on from where I left off, and not because people think what they think," Dickey said. "I can't control that. You're always going to have naysayers out there no matter what. I don't really pitch for anybody outside of ... I feel like I've been given a real gift.

"I just want to do the best with that gift I can do every time out, regardless of what people think."

Meanwhile, Vazquez gets another shot at NL competition and makes his Marlins debut after posting a 10-10 record and 5.32 ERA for the Yankees last year (8-10 with a 5.56 ERA as a starter).

Vazquez was much more effective in 2009 while with the Atlanta Braves (15-10, 2.87 ERA, 238 strikeouts in 219 1/3 innings), and has been working with Marlins pitching coach Randy St. Claire, whom he knew from his days as a Montreal Expo earlier in his career.

"He still does all the little things he did back then," St. Claire said.

"He can field back then. He could bunt. He could control the running game, all that kind of stuff. Now he has to be a little smarter with his pitches, because he doesn't have that 95 mph coming at you. So he has to work location a little more, change speeds, that type of stuff.

"He's working ahead in the count. His velocity is back to where it was with the Braves. His arm strength, he's hit 91 mph a few times. He's pitching 90, 88-89, in that area."

Mets: Wright batting 1,001
David Wright made his 1,000th Major League start on Friday night and tabbed No. 1,001 on Saturday. The only other Mets player to start 1,000 or more games are Ed Kranepool, Bud Harrelson, Jerry Grote and Cleon Jones. Shortstop Jose Reyes is next on the list among active Mets. He needs 129 to join that exclusive club, having made his 871st start Saturday night. ... The Mets have four rookies on the team: right-hander Pedro Beato, second baseman Brad Emaus, outfielder Lucas Duda and catcher Mike Nickeas.

Marlins: Morrison picking right up
From the time Marlins outfielder Logan Morrison had his contract selected from Triple-A last July 27, he led all Major League rookies in doubles and triples and was tied for the lead in runs scored (43). Morrison ranked second in walks, third in on-base percentage and seventh in slugging percentage (.477) last season. He went 1-for-5 with two RBIs in Saturday night's loss to the Mets. ... Catcher John Buck is expected to be in the Marlins' lineup for the third straight game, a rarity for a starting catcher in a day game after a night game. But Buck will likely make the start because the team has an off-day on Monday.

Worth noting
The Mets' win on Saturday night snapped a seven-game losing streak at Sun Life Stadium that dated back to May 13, 2010. Including three Marlins "home games" in Puerto Rico in 2010, the Mets are now 2-9 on the road against Florida since 2010. After Saturday's win, the Mets improved to 70-69 all-time against the Marlins. ... Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran will probably sit out Sunday, which would put Willie Harris in left field and Duda in right. ... Vazquez, who is making his 26th career start vs. the Mets and is 10-9 with a 3.16 ERA in those games, is one of three active Major Leaguers to have defeated all 30 teams, joining Barry Zito of the Giants and Vicente Padilla of the Dodgers, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Vazquez has also started in 44 different stadiums, the most among active pitchers. ... Marlins outfielder Mike Stanton likely will sit out on Sunday because of a tight right hamstring, with Scott Cousins likely getting the start in right field against Dickey.

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