Friday, April 11, 2014
TC preparing for 4-man rotation in outfield
By Adam Rubin
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Terry Collins suggested he will rotate his primary outfielders once Chris Young is activated from the disabled list next Friday.
Young, who is headed to Triple-A Las Vegas to begin a rehab assignment, will rejoin the Mets late in the next series in Arizona and take batting practice with the club. He then will fly to New York with the team, in advance of being activated when he is eligible next weekend.
Collins will have to figure out at that point how to get enough playing time for four outfielders -- especially given how well Juan Lagares and, at least recently, Eric Young Jr. have performed.
"The hope is you can give them days off and play the other three," Collins said. "How's it going to work? I don't know yet."
Adam RubinChris Young's return from the DL next Friday should lead to a four-man rotation in the outfield.
Will Curtis Granderson be part of that rotation? That seems so, but Collins said: "Too early to know."
Granderson is batting fifth Friday for the first time this season, but Collins said he will be back in the cleanup spot Saturday. Collins insisted the motivation for placing Granderson fifth was to further separate him from No. 2 hitter Daniel Murphy, the other lefty hitter in the lineup, since the Angels only have one lefty in the bullpen.
As for Granderson's slow start (.125, 1 HR, 3 RBIs), Collins said: "A lot of it, I truly believe, is it's a new league. He sees new guys. No matter what you say, that's an adjustment that has to be made sometimes. I'll bet if you went over and talked to Albert [Pujols] about when he first went to the American League, he may say the same thing.
"I think once Curtis settles in, he's going to be fine. I'm not concerned. I thought he's had some pretty good swings lately. He's drawing some bases on balls, which means he's seeing the ball better."
First thing: Collins confirmed that both Ike Davis and Lucas Duda will start Saturday, with one serving as the designated hitter, when the Mets face Angels right-hander Jered Weaver.
As for Friday, it's the righties -- Andrew Brown and Josh Satin -- at the DH and first-base spots, respectively, against left-hander Tyler Skaggs. Both are starting for only the second time this season. They entered Friday with a combined 15 plate appearances through nine games.
"They need some at-bats. Both of those guys," Collins said. "I just thought it was an opportunity today to get them both in there and we'll see how the rest of the weekend plays out."
Long night: After a night game Thursday in Atlanta, the Mets flew overnight to LAX and got to their Orange County hotel at 6 a.m. ET/3 a.m. PT.
"A character-testing day," Collins labeled it.
Welcome back: Collins managed the Angels for three seasons in the late 1990s and ultimately resigned amid a clubhouse insurrection. He said very few people remain around the Angels from those days.
Collins did say Angels third-base coach Gary DiSarcina was one of his favorite players to manage. Angels manager Mike Scioscia and Collins were minor-league teammates with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
"It was a long time ago," Collins said. "I've said it many times: I'm a completely different guy than I was 15 years ago -- a lot more mellower, but what I feel is I'm a much better communicator than I was back then. If I would have done 15 years ago what I do today, I don't think we would have had some of the problems creep up which did."
What has remained the same?
"I haven't grown a god-damn inch," Collins joked.
For starters:Jonathon Niese likely will be capped at 105 pitches Saturday, in his second start since returning from the disabled list. Niese threw 90 pitches Sunday while limiting the Cincinnati Reds to two runs in 5 2/3 innings.
"He cruised pretty good to 90 the other day," Collins said. "So we can tack on 15, probably no more than 20 after that."
Green day: Ex-Mets outfielder Shawn Green, who lives locally, visited David Wright and the Mets in the visitors' clubhouse pregame.
Side note: Ex-Mets reliever Joe Smith, who signed a three-year, $15.75 million deal with the Angels last offseason as a free agent, said the Mets informally floated a similar figure. But that was before the Mets had signed Granderson, and Sandy Alderson was not yet willing to commit, while the L.A. offer was already out there.