JUPITER, Fla. — David Peterson’s Grapefruit League season started against a lineup Monday that included reigning National League MVP Paul Goldschmidt and notables such as Paul DeJong, Lars Nootbar and Dylan Carlson.
The Mets left-hander aced the test with two shutout innings in the Mets’ 12-7 loss to the Cardinals at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Peterson struck out three and walked one without allowing a hit.
Peterson said he’s working on refining all his pitches, but hasn’t changed anything since last season, when he went 7-5 with a 3.83 ERA in 28 appearances, of which 19 were starts, for the Mets.
“I have really tried to have five pitches that the hitters have to worry about instead of two or three and then have another few that I might throw,” Peterson said. “But to spread out some of that usage and have multiple weapons against different hitters.”
Working with the pitch clock was hardly a novelty for Peterson, who started six games last season at Triple-A Syracuse, where he had to deal with the timer.
“As someone who likes to work faster than normal, it doesn’t really affect me,” Peterson said. “It was fun to kind of keep my eye on it and see how I could play with timings and holds and try to use it in my favor.”
Eduardo Escobar could see action in left field as soon as Tuesday, according to manager Buck Showalter, because Team Venezuela is considering using Escobar if needed at that position during the World Baseball Classic.
“I don’t know if any of the WBC guys are working harder than [Escobar],” Showalter said. “This is a big deal to him. He wants to be ready.”
Justin Verlander’s Mets debut in the Grapefruit League is scheduled for Saturday in Jupiter against the Marlins. Max Scherzer will start a day earlier at home against the Nationals. Both pitched Sunday — Verlander threw in live batting practice — but Showalter cautioned not to read too much into the upcoming alignment as to which ace might start Opening Day in Miami. The Mets have two days off in the coming weeks that would allow Showalter to tweak the rotation as needed.