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Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Collins: Tejada-Turner 'probably' 50-50

By Adam Rubin

In Jose Reyes' first game back with the Mets, for Monday's doubleheader nightcap, Ruben Tejada started at second base. Day 2 brings Justin Turner starting at that position Tuesday.

Terry Collins said "probably" the distribution will continue 50-50 "right now," although the manager said it will be based on "feel" who would start any particular day.

Collins said he did not need to get Tejada particularly acclimated to Reyes for 2012 double-play work  because, frankly, he cannot be sure Reyes will re-sign.

"I don't want to form a relationship that can't be broken," Collins said.

Regardless, Collins did say he would like to see Tejada's steal totals increase. And that will be a point of emphasis in spring training.

Tejada has stolen only five major league bases, and attempted only seven swipes, in 149 games over two seasons. His minor league totals are similarly underwhelming. After notching 18 steals in his first pro season in 67 games in 2007, Tejada slipped to eight in '08. He had 19 in '09 with Double-A Binghamton, but only five in 10 attempts over the past two seasons with Triple-A Buffalo.

Collins noted Tejada is not a speed demon. But the manager added that even Jeff Bagwell stole 31 bases in 1997 with the Houston Astros because he had the proper approach. And the stolen base "has to be" part of Tejada's game.

"He's athletic enough to steal bases," Collins said.

Collins added that running will be a point of emphasis overall in spring training. He already has a post-it note to remind himself. Collins said he counted at least four instances in recent days in which Mets failed to take extra bases.

SPECIAL VISIT: The Marlins' Greg Dobbs visited the 12-year-old boy who was struck by a foul ball off his bat in Game 1 of Monday's doubleheader at the hospital before Tuesday's game. Dobbs told Florida reporters the boy received eight stitches on his nose and had a broken sinus bone.

ON TURN: After contemplating pushing back Chris Capuano a day because he threw 122 pitches in a two-hit shutout his past start, the southpaw will start on his regularly scheduled day Wednesday opposite Chris Volstad. That means Miguel Batista gets slotted into Jon Niese's spot on Thursday, with R.A. Dickey coming back on short rest Friday in D.C.

REST OF THE STORY: Collins reiterated he does plan for Reyes to average about two games off a month -- which translates to about 150 games a season -- in a bid to keep him healthy. Adding in each team gets about two days off a month too, Collins concluded Reyes should get about four days off a month. "In baseball terms, that's pretty good rest," Collins said.

CLOSE CALL: After Bobby Parnell was used in both games of Monday's doubleheader, Collins said Jason Isringhausen likely would close Tuesday. Collins said he could have held Parnell back from Game 2 once the Mets opened a four-run lead, but Parnell had already warmed and he would have gone in had another reliever allowed baserunners anyway.