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Jake will still clean up

4/8/2010

Mike Jacobs will remain in the cleanup spot Friday, splitting David Wright and Jason Bay, when the Mets face Washington Nationals right-hander Garrett Mock. Manager Jerry Manuel said he likes the alternating lefty-righty lineup that creates. When Daniel Murphy returns from the disabled list, Manuel plans to stack Wright and Bay in the Nos. 3-4 slots, as the skipper is doing against southpaws. Murphy would bat fifth.

ANGEL IN OUTFIELD: Angel Pagan is starting in center field Thursday night after two straight starts by Gary Matthews Jr. because Manuel preferred Pagan in the leadoff spot rather than Luis Castillo while Alex Cora sits.

Had Matthews started rather than Pagan, Manuel would have used a 1-2 of Castillo and Ruben Tejada. Instead, Tejada bats eighth in his first major-league start.

CATCH ON: Henry Blanco, the lone position player yet to appear, should get his first opportunity in Saturday's matinee. That is, unless Thursday night's game is lengthy and Rod Barajas needs a rest Friday instead.

SITUATIONAL COMEDY: Wright, who filmed a vitaminwater commercial with Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino during spring training that's now hit the internet, said the reality show star is exactly how he appears on television. "It's not an act," Wright said. "He's entertaining."

LEADING MAN: Jose Reyes will back exclusively leadoff when he returns Saturday. Reyes is playing in a Florida State League game on Thursday night.

LINING UP: Facing Florida Marlins left-hander Nate Robertson, manager Manuel has a reconfigured lineup for Thursday's series finale:

Angel Pagan, cf

Luis Castillo, 2b

David Wright, 3b

Jason Bay, lf

Jeff Francoeur, rf

Fernando Tatis, 1b

Rod Barajas, c

Ruben Tejada, ss

Jon Niese, lhp