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Friday, April 20, 2012
Tidbits from TC

By Mike Mazzeo

Mets manager Terry Collins said left-hander Johan Santana should be fine to make his next start on Monday against San Francisco.

“Oh he’ll be fine. I’m sure he’s fine,” said Collins, who didn’t know if Santana was going to throw a Friday bullpen in-between starts, but had already seen two bullpens from his ace. “Not only that, I’m sure he’s angry.”

Santana was roughed up in his last outing, giving up six runs in 1 1/3 innings in Atlanta on April 17. He had allowed just one run in his first two starts.

• Collins said center fielder Andres Torres, who is currently on the disabled list, has picked up his activity level while rehabbing from a calf injury, but has yet to run at full speed or run the bases.

“One of the things that has basically been the cause is this explosion that he has, that has caused the injury,” Collins said. “So they are trying to put him through those start and stop drills, primarily before they start to extend his running program.”

• Why is rookie Kirk Nieuwenhuis in the lineup against southpaw Barry Zito?

“Well, Nieuwy is swinging awfully good right now and as he continues to grow in this league, I want him to face some quality lefthanders and Barry Zito certainly fits that description,” Collins said. “I thought it would be a good challenge for him.”

Nieuwenhuis is currently hitting .375 since his promotion with a homer and three RBIs.

• Will Collins be able to find a long-term solution in center?

“It’s always good to have guys that you know are going to play in certain positions, no matter what that position may be. Whether it’s center or second or right. It doesn’t matter. The team gets comfortable, the lineup is comfortable,” Collins said.

“So if it’s Nieuwy, great. I mean, Andres has made some good strides down in rehab. So when he gets back, we got him for a reason and we are going to get him in there and make sure that we get out what we’ve got.”

• Why has slugger David Wright gotten off to such a strong start compared with last season?

You are talking about health, No. 1,” Collins said. “But as has been written and talked about, he’s gone back to the swing he had a couple of years ago and it’s paying off for him.”

• Collins said he got Mike Nickeas in the lineup on Friday night because he wants to get his backup catcher going. ... Mike Baxter will start either Saturday or Sunday, Collins said.