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Tuesday, April 10, 2012
TC: No straight platoon behind plate


Terry Collins said he will not have a straight platoon at catcher -- as opposed to center field, where the manager will employ a platoon in Andres Torres' absence.

So while Scott Hairston and Kirk Nieuwenhuis' playing time will be based on the opposing starting pitcher being a righty or lefty, Josh Thole will start against some southpaws behind the plate over Mike Nickeas.

That situation should come up this weekend, when the Philadelphia Phillies will use two left-handers in the three-game series -- Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels. Thole, a .173 career hitter at the major league level against left-handers, should start against one of those pitchers.

Ike Davis, who was due to get a followup exam for his suspected but latent case of valley fever on Tuesday morning, took part in early batting practice. Collins said he was unaware Davis even was scheduled for a hospital visit. But, the manager added, he has not been informed of anything alarming regarding Davis.

Davis was given Tuesday night off against left-hander Ross Detwiler to avoid overtaxing the first baseman and potentially triggering a flare-up of the suspected valley fever, which can lead to debilitating exhaustion.

"No. 1, the valley fever is not an issue with Ike," Collins said. "He feels fine. Obviously the weather has really helped, being nice and cool and fresh. The one thing we have to monitor, we were told in spring training to make sure this guy gets some rest. So regardless of the temperatures, regardless of how nice the weather has been, when I was looking at the schedule and I saw a day game after a night game, a tough lefty on the mound, he's not swinging real good right now, maybe this was the perfect time just to let him have that one extra day. But he's fine, he's healthy."

• Arguably, the Mets' best defensive alignment would have been Justin Turner at second base and Daniel Murphy at first base, not vice versa, in Davis' absence. But Collins said that was not a remote consideration. Murphy will be stable at second base and Lucas Duda stable in right field so that their acclimation to relatively unfamiliar positions is not interrupted.

Turner is making his first regular-season professional start, and second regular-season appearance, at first base.

"He played enough games in spring training to feel comfortable," Collins said. "He's one of those guys, no matter where you put him, you feel good about him being able to play the spot. When we came into this, we felt it was very important that Dan Murphy stay at second base. We didn't want to bounce him around. When you've got Ronny Cedeno, he's a middle infielder, who if you have to can play some third base. When you look at the outfield, again, we wanted Lucas Duda to sit in right field. So our options started to get pretty thin. You can put Mike Baxter over there. You can put Justin Turner over there."

• Collins said Johan Santana likely will be capped at 95 pitches when he opposes Stephen Strasburg in Wednesday's series finale. At least six of Santana's first seven starts, including Wednesday's, will come on an extra day of rest because of the way team days off fall.

"It will still be monitored very closely," Collins said about Santana's pitch count.

The manager added that the extra days of rest will benefit Santana in terms of bouncing back, not in terms of getting him to higher pitch counts.

"He threw, what, 82 or 83 the other day?" Collins said. "We'll probably aim 95 -- somewhere in there."