03/07/12 4:03 PM EST
Turner's big day backs strong Niese debut
By David Villavicencio / Special to MLB.com
JUPITER, Fla. -- Sean West struggled with his command and Justin Turner led the Mets as they beat the Marlins, 7-0, at Roger Dean Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.
West, who has had issues with his command in the past, walked four while hitting a batter and throwing a wild pitch. The 25-year-old left-hander allowed three runs on four hits before manager Ozzie Guillen pulled him after 1 2/3 innings.
Justin Turner had a big day at the plate for the Mets, going 3-for-3 with a solo homer and three runs batted in. Catcher Josh Thole added an RBI double.
Mets starter Jonathon Niese had a strong start to his Grapefruit League season. The left-hander struck out two over a pair of scoreless innings. Marlins infielder Donnie Murphy was the only Miami player to reach base against Niese, with a two-out walk in the second.
Even with a strong showing, Niese believes there is still a lot of room for improvement before the regular season begins in April.
"Obviously everything needs to be worked on," Niese said. "It's not there yet. My curveball, my arm needs to get in better shape to be more consistent with that. But I like where my cutter's at right now. I think my changeup needs some more work, but it's getting there. And the fastball command can always get better."
The Marlins' offense took a while to get going. Miami was unable to get a hit off Niese and reliever Bobby Parnell. The Marlins finally collected their first hit of the day when Murphy doubled off Ramon Ramirez to open the fifth inning.
"It's just one of those days," Murphy said of the Marlins' struggles at the plate. "Everybody has their off days. We're going to be fine. We don't even have our whole team here. I'm not worried about it. Everybody is still getting their timing in and we will hit our stride and be fine."
Right-hander Tom Koehler was the only Marlins pitcher to have much success, throwing 2 1/3 no-hit innings in relief of West.
Up next for the Mets: Last year's Opening Day starter, Mike Pelfrey, will make his Grapefruit League debut Thursday in a 1:10 p.m. ET game against the Marlins at Digital Domain Park. Pelfrey will slot fourth in this year's rotation behind Johan Santana, R.A. Dickey and Niese.
David Villavicencio is a contributor to MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.