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Monday, May 27, 2013
Pregame notes: Tejada back on top

By Kieran Darcy

Mets manager Terry Collins has returned shortstop Ruben Tejada to the leadoff spot, despite the fact Tejada is batting just .218 on the season.

"We've been trying to look at some different things," Collins said. "As we move forward, he's gotta be the guy who leads off for us.

"When he's doing what he's supposed to be doing, he has good at-bats, he battles at-bats -- he's one of those guys that can fight pitches off so that the guys behind him see what the pitcher's got."

Daniel Murphy has been at the top of the order for the team's past seven games. Murphy went 8-for-27 (.296) during that span, but is at .301 on the season. Collins has returned him to his customary No. 2 spot in the lineup.

"When Murph hits second, it seems like he's on," Collins said. "You put him in the leadoff spot, it kind of changes his approach at home plate. I know he didn't necessarily care for it -- he did it out of necessity, and that's why he's a pro. But again, I just think our best lineup is with Ruben at the top of the order."

The 23-year-old Tejada hit .289 in 114 games (78 in the leadoff spot) last season, and .284 in 96 games in 2011. He batted .247 in the month of April, but is hitting just .188 in May -- although he went 3-for-4 against the Braves on Saturday.

"If you analyze his swing, his swing's pretty good," Collins said. "What he's doing is, he's catching balls out in front of the plate -- which now all of sudden when you're finishing your swing it's on the upstroke, and that's where the fly balls are coming. So he's gotta let the ball get deeper, he's gotta see it a bit longer, he's gotta stay back a little bit longer.

"I know it's gonna get going. He's been too good of an offensive player in this league not to start hitting."

STILL HERE: A day after his tie-breaking single propelled the Mets to a 4-2 win over the Braves, Ike Davis was chatty with reporters. But that's typical from Davis, despite his woeful start to the season.

Davis had two hits and a walk Sunday night, which may have saved him (at least temporarily) from a demotion to Triple-A, but is still batting just .158 on the season.

"It was a good start," Davis said, of his dramatic eighth-inning hit the night before. "I've got a long way to go. But it definitely felt good to help the team and get a W."

"I think the one at-bat was huge, but the four at-bats was what was impressive," said Collins. "Much quieter in the batter's box, head a lot less movement than he's had in weeks. I think a whole different approach as far as body language -- he just was relaxed for some reason.

"I just thought his whole approach was better. And certainly if there's a time that someone, anybody needed to get a hit, last night was it."