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Monday, May 20, 2013
Murphy stays at top, Ike drops

By Matt Ehalt



Mets manager Terry Collins is keeping Daniel Murphy atop the lineup for Monday's game against Cincinnati, but first baseman Ike Davis' week-long trial at cleanup has ended, as he will hit sixth.

Murphy hit in the leadoff spot for the first time all season Sunday against the Cubs and hit the go-ahead homer in the Mets' win. Collins said one of the reasons the team is riding Murphy at the top is due to no other hitters showing they should be setting the table.

"Thought I would leave Murphy there right now," Collins said Monday afternoon. "We can kind of mix and match with who hits behind him."

At the suggestion of bench coach Bob Geren, Collins placed Murphy, who had primarily been the No. 2 hitter, in the leadoff spot Sunday. The second baseman went 1-for-4 with the homer, and now has an eight-game hitting streak.

"I sure like the fact that he gets on base the way he does with David [Wright] coming up," Collins said. "David's showing guys in scoring position that he'll drive them in."

As Murphy stays at the top, Davis moves back to the bottom third of the lineup, where he's primarily been hitting for the last month. The team moved him up to cleanup for a week to try to get him going, but it didn't work. Davis went 1-for-24 in the six games he batted cleanup. There's been a lot of talk about a possible Davis demotion, but, for now, he stays in Flushing.

"He's still here, we still need to play him," Collins said. "I took him out of the four spot because Lucas [Duda] is swinging the bat very good even though his numbers don't show it. He hit the ball very well in St. Louis [and] very good in Chicago. I thought I would take Ike out of the four spot, keep him in the lineup because we are going to get three righties here, and maybe this is the series he gets it going."

Recent acquisition Rick Ankiel, who will be playing in just his seventh game as a Met on Monday, will man the No. 2 spot for the first time with the team.

Ankiel had hit seventh in each game he started for the Mets, but Collins is moving him up in hopes of allowing him to benefit from Murphy getting on base. Ankiel is a pull-hitter and teams can employ the shift on him at times.

Ankiel is excited to play his first home game as a Met and has enjoyed his time with the team so far.

"It's been good. I really like the team, I like the guys, it seems like they are having fun, it's a good group," Ankiel said. "Excited to be here."

Veteran Marlon Byrd is also in the lineup Monday due to his good career numbers against Reds' starter Johnny Cueto, as he's 6-for-11 against him. He's playing right field and batting fifth.

• Collins was unaware that the team had signed reliever David Aardsma to a minor-league deal and did not have information about whether top prospect Zack Wheeler will rejoin Triple-A Las Vegas' rotation on Wednesday. He did say that injured reliever Frank Francisco (elbow) will continue his throwing progression this week, as he's expected to throw Monday or Tuesday. He's been increasing his throwing distance.