The Bergen Record‘s Steve Popper and MLB.com’s Marty Noble discuss Sunday night’s initiation-by-fire for Mets rookie reliever Joe Smith. With a runner on first and Albert Pujols in the hole, Willie Randolph opted to eschew the safe route and instead turned to his untested side-armer, whom was pitching at Wright State less than a year ago. Smith’s performance wasn’t all that impressive, as he surrendered a hit to David Eckstein and struck out Preston Wilson before walking Albert Pujols to load the bases. However thanks to a grounder induced by Aaron Heilman, and a spectacular double-play initiated by Jose Valentin, the outing will be remembered as a positive first step for a young kid whom the Mets are counting on to help erase the loss of Chad Bradford.
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