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Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Santana set for batting practice

By Adam Rubin

Johan Santana long tossed in camp on Tuesday and now will advance to facing hitters in batting practice Thursday, Terry Collins said. Santana then likely will throw a light bullpen session Saturday to set up his first Grapefruit League game, Tuesday against the St. Louis Cardinals in Port St. Lucie.

Matt Harvey plunked Lucas Duda with what turned out to be a fastball during batting practice Tuesday, although Collins quipped: "Oh, it's like throwing against a wall." Duda, who was uninjured, confessed: "I mean, he was throwing hard. It hurt a little bit."

• Collins reiterated his intention to bat Ike Davis fourth, Jason Bay fifth and Duda sixth. The manager did say he would consider flipping Duda and Bay and stacking two lefty hitters against opponents who do not have a strong left-hander in their bullpen.

• The morning announcement that the Mets would play their top prospects Sunday was a mistake, Collins said. Instead, the manager said, the Mets would play a third intrasquad game that day only involving players in the major league camp. The Mets also did not play the University of Michigan this spring training, which had become an annual tradition.

"We have to get our guys ready," Collins said. "No disrespect to the kids over there. We've got to get at-bats for some people. Actually, there's a number of decisions to be made in this camp. And I'm not going to limit the number of times I can see these guys to play against the [prospects] camp."

The Mets will play seven-inning intrasquad games Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

• Collins acknowlegded Manny Acosta, who is out of minor league options, is all but a lock for the Opening Day roster in the bullpen along with Frank Francisco, Jon Rauch, Ramon Ramirez and Tim Byrdak. Bobby Parnell has a strong chance to claim spot No. 6, but he has a minor league option remaining and does not fall into the lock category.

Collins explained about the competition for the final bullpen spots when asked about Parnell's standing: "When we start playing games, I want to see some consistency ... to where their command isn't erratic in the beginning and you're saying, 'He's going to be OK.' From the get-go, I want to see some good outings."

• Mets players went through a 45-minute media training session Tuesday morning.