- Associated Press - Friday, March 18, 2016

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) - New York Mets captain David Wright got two hits in his spring debut, a 12-7 loss to the Washington Nationals on Friday night.

The All-Star third baseman was diagnosed with spinal stenosis last season and advised by doctors to take a month off after the World Series, delaying his offseason routine. He says he’s on track to be ready for opening day.

“I’ll take this, because game-type situation, these guys are well ahead of me as far as the speed of the game, getting the at-bats,” Wright said.

“For me, it was about trying to put together good at-bats. I was able to get the hit, get some confidence going early, I had much better at-bats, especially the last one, I got to see some pitches and I’m really happy with how the day went,” he said.

Wright had a pair of singles, including an opposite-field hit on the first pitch he saw from Nationals top prospect Lucas Giolito in the first inning.

Mets starter Bartolo Colon struggled, allowing eight runs and nine hits in five innings. He gave up three home runs and four doubles. Colon has a 10.03 ERA in three starts this spring.

Michael Taylor homered among his three hits and scored three times. Danny Espinosa hit a three-run homer and Chris Heisey added a solo shot.

Michael Conforto hit a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth and Juan Lagares also homered for the Mets.

Giolito threw two scoreless innings. He allowed a hit, struck out one and walked one.

STARTING TIME

Nationals: Giolito said it was a neat experience facing Wright after looking up to him as a Little Leaguer.

“It was cool to have him stand in the box against me,” Giolito said. “It’s like what you dream about as a kid is slowly turning into a reality.”

“It’s cool to stand up there and have guys like (Curtis) Granderson, (Yoenis) Cespedes, Wright - all those guys up there. I was watching them in the postseason last year and now I get to pitch against them. It was really cool,” he said.

Mets: Colon, whose career spring ERA is over 6.00, said he’s not worried about the results in March.

“These training games don’t worry me, this is what they are for, so I can find those things I need to work on and work on them,” Colon said through a translator.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets: Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera (knee) played catch with a trainer Friday afternoon and also tracked pitches in the batting cage. He hopes to hit in the batting cage Saturday.

GETTING WORK

Nationals starters Max Scherzer and Tanner Roark each pitched five innings against minor leaguers Friday.

“They’ve got to get their work in,” Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. “It doesn’t matter who they throw against - it’s a better barometer when you throw against good competition - but I think it’s easier for a pitcher to throw against anybody than a hitter to get his timing against anybody. It’s about getting your work now. It’s about getting your legs underneath you. It’s about getting endurance.”

THIS AND THAT

Wright is scheduled to be off Saturday, then play back-to-back games Sunday and Monday. . Colon struck out five Nationals on Friday - all on called third strikes. . The Nationals optioned catching prospect Pedro Severino to Triple-A on Friday.

UP NEXT

The Mets travel to Viera on Saturday to play the Nationals. RHP Matt Harvey, the Mets opening day starter, will face RHP Joe Ross.

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