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Intrasquad contest a showcase for Syndergaard

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The Mets' intrasquad game Thursday lacked familiar names, and, more than that, it lacked creative names. The teams were cleverly labeled "Home" and "Away."

Oh, for the days when someone bothered to have some fun, like in the early 80s, when George Bamberger was the manager and coaches Frank Howard and Jim Frey managed the intrasquad opponents. Howard, 6-foot-8 and about 315 pounds, was the manager of the Jumbo Franks. Frey's team was named -- what else? -- the "Small Freys." And, extending the barbeque metaphor, Bamberger's surname easily morphed into Hamburger.

The names were seemingly changed after the game Thursday. Though the teams wore identical uniforms, one was named Orange, the other Blue. The Blue team beat the Orange team, 5-2.

Daisuke Matsuzaka, Noah Syndergaard and Steve Matz pitched impressively for the Orange after Dillon Gee allowed two runs in the first inning, one on a home run by Danny Muno.

Syndergaard (6-foot-6, 240 pounds) apeared to be pitching from a mound left over from 1968, the "Year of the Pitcher." He dwarfed the others on the field. Syndergaard allowed four hits and a run, and he struck out five in two innings.

Gee was delighted with his breaking ball and command, and he said he felt significantly better than he did after his first appearance last year. He was coming off arm surgery at that time. Two scouts said they sense Gee is apt to have a more successful season in 2014. Matt Clark, a camp invitee, showed patience at the plate and had two hits for the Orange team.

Brandon Allen, Wilfredo Tovar and Muno had two hits each for the Blue. Jeurys Familia pitched two scoreless innings, striking out five.

Marty Noble is a reporter for Joey Nowak is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak.
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