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02/27/11 7:06 PM EST

Strong showing for Capuano in spring debut

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Perched several rows behind home plate at Digital Domain Park on Sunday, Sandy Koufax chatted idly with Mets owner Fred Wilpon but never diverted his attention from the game. On the mound was his newest pupil, starting pitcher Chris Capuano, and Koufax wanted to see how he would fare.

Greeting each other before the game, the two lefties planned to speak again after the final out. In the interim, Capuano kept busy by tossing three innings of one-run ball against the University of Michigan, striking out four in his spring debut.

"He's pretty astute," Capuano said of Koufax. "He's a pretty good observer. I try to ask him as many questions as I can -- take advantage of him while he's here."

During a bullpen session last weekend, Koufax worked with Capuano on keeping his weight forward and his right hip pointed toward home plate, in an effort to make his motions -- particularly on his fastball delivery -- more efficient. It appeared to work Sunday, with Capuano hitting 87 mph on the stadium radar gun. (He averaged that exact speed on his fastball last season.)

Though two hard-hit doubles led to a Michigan run in the second inning, Capuano -- by throwing 31 of his 37 offerings for strikes -- kept his pitch count low enough to complete three full innings, a rarity at this early stage of spring. He tacked on another eight pitches afterward in the bullpen to finish the day at 45.

"It's a good test for my arm this early in spring to be feeling good," said Capuano, who is nearly three years removed from the second of his two career Tommy John surgeries. "Last year, I was able to get my fastball back up into the 87 to 90 range, and if I can get it up into that range and stay there, I don't expect too much more than that. I'm happy there."

Ostensibly battling for the fifth starter's job in the rotation, Capuano remains the clear favorite from a group that also includes Oliver Perez, Jenrry Mejia, D.J. Carrasco and Dillon Gee.

"There's no talk, at least amongst the players, of numbers or spots," he said. "At this point, it's all about your routine and hitting the glove."

Collins may prefer Misch in relief role

LAKE BUENA VISTA - Manager Terry Collins indicated an awareness of MLB's preference to have teams play a reasonable number of regulars in away games and also to have enough pitching in away games so that ties can be avoided. The Mets adhered to both directives Sunday, starting Angel Pagan, Ike Davis and Josh Thole -- regulars all -- and having Chris Young as their starting pitcher. Pat Misch pitched in relief.

Though Collins made a point of saying Misch still is a candidate to start, he also noted that Misch's pitch repertoire and resilient arm make him well-suited for relief work. Misch's preference is to be a big league pitcher, regardless of role.

Pagan played right field and Scott Hairston started in center Sunday, but it had little to do with whether Pagan or Carlos Beltran will play center and more to do with Collins wanting to know how well Hairston can cover center.

Adams' lefty power on display for Mets

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Mets scored twice in the sixth inning and three times in the eighth to beat the Braves, 5-4, on Sunday. The three runs came on one swing from veteran Russ Adams against former Yankees and Dodgers reliever Scott Proctor. Adams, who hit 17 home runs in parts of five seasons with the Blue Jays, has chance to find work as a reserve outfielder/infield with the Mets.

Adams replaced Ike Davis at first Sunday and is scheduled to play Monday, when the Mets play the Nationals in Port St. Luice, Fla. -- David Wright will have the day off -- and will see some time at second as well. Most of his innings in the big leagues have been at shortstop.

Adams, 30, is a left-handed hitter who was chosen by the Blue Jays in the first round of the 2002 Draft. He played in 108 games with the Mets' Triple-A Buffalo affiliate last season, batting .264 with 16 home run and 58 RBI's in 383 at-bats. His left-handed power intrigues Collins.

Worth noting

Mets manager Terry Collins came to know the late Hall of Famer Duke Snider during his time with the Dodgers, and he recalled the "Duke Snider drill" as explained to him by former club president Al Campanis. Snider, who died Sunday, had a poor sense of the strike zone in 1947 when he broke in with the Dodgers. So he would go to the bullpen and stand near the plate, as a batter would, when pitchers warmed up. And his sense of the strike zone improved with the hundreds of pitches he would see in a week. ... Mookie Wilson doesn't look right wearing No. 53 -- or for that matter, any number other that 1. A clubhouse guest suggested Sunday that Luis Castillo might be better off giving his No. 1 to the coach and finding a degree of anonymity in wearing 53.

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.