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Friday, July 19, 2013
Mets aim for .500

By Matt Ehalt

NEW YORK -- Terry Collins knows the Math.

For the Mets to finish at .500, it's going to take a 40-31 effort in the second half to get there. Or simply put, roughly the same amount of wins the Mets had over their first 91 games. Collins isn't backing down from that challenge as the Mets begin the second half on Friday night against Philadelphia.

"We'd like to do better than that. Certainly the way we played at the end of the first half it's very attainable," Collins said. "That's certainly a goal that a number of people would like us to achieve."

Since winning 79 games in 2010, the Mets' wins total has dropped each of the past two years, and they are on pace to win approximately 73 games this season, which would be another dip.

While the Mets likely are going to miss the playoffs for the eighth straight year, Collins believes that getting to .500 would be an incredible accomplishment.

"I think if you look up and you're 81-81, that's a hell of an achievement," Collins said. "Especially when you lost three-fifths of your starting rotation in the beginning of the year, didn't have your closer, your fourth hitter had a rough time of it and had to get production out of other people you didn't expect to. I think it would be a tremendous achievement. The only thing I want to make sure is we compete and we get those young players better. That's what's going to make 2014 a fun year.

DUDA HITTING: Collins said outfielder Lucas Duda (left intercostal strain) has started hitting. Duda has been on the disabled list retroactive to June 22.

The manager added that nothing has been discussed regarding the plan for reintegrating Duda into the lineup. Collins, however, did mention struggling first baseman Ike Davis' performance when talking about Duda's return.

"It may depend if Ike [Davis] starts hitting, that might have something to say. But if Ike doesn't start hitting, that will have something to do," Collins said in regard to Davis hitting just .192 since his return. "It has not been discussed where Lucas is going to stand when he's ready to play."

Davis has just two RBIs since returning on July 5, and is currently in a 2-for-21 skid.

SAME FOR NIESE: Injured lefty Jon Niese (rotator cuff) is continuing to do long toss, according to Collins. Niese has been on the disabled list since June 21 with a slight tear in his rotator cuff.

"I know he's close to getting on the mound, which means he has to get close to 150 feet," Collins said.

WRIGHT TIRED: Collins gave All-Star third baseman David Wright the last two days off to give him a breather following the All-Star Game.

"He is tired. Make no mistake about it," Collins said. "Those days might have rekindled some energy, but I think in the second half we got to take a look at it. ... We're going to make sure in the second half we spot that day off."

LYON TO BOSTON: The Red Sox signed former Mets reliever Brandon Lyon. Lyon was 2-2 with a 4.98 ERA and was designated for assignment on July 5.