Thursday, June 12, 2014
Notes: Murphy leads off, Granderson sits
By Danny Knobler | Special to ESPNNewYork.com
NEW YORK -- One lineup change was by choice, the other was not.
Terry Collins chose to try Daniel Murphy as the New York Mets' seventh different leadoff hitter this season. He didn't want to move Curtis Granderson out of the cleanup spot.
But when the Mets' lineup was posted for Thursday night's game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Granderson wasn't in it at all, a result of a sore left calf that the outfielder hopes won't sideline him for more than a day.
Granderson, who played in 63 of the Mets' first 65 games, said he felt the calf begin to bother him during Wednesday's 3-1 loss to the Brewers. He was able to take batting practice Thursday, and Collins said there's a chance he would use him as a pinch hitter.
Granderson said he could return for Friday's game against the San Diego Padres.
"That's what I'm hoping," he said.
It's harder to say how long Murphy will last as the leadoff hitter. Collins has resisted moving him out of the second spot, but he needed a new leadoff man Thursday (with Ruben Tejada sitting out in favor of Wilmer Flores at shortstop).
"I talked to Murph at length," Collins said. "I told him, 'The way you're swinging, let's get you some plate appearances.'
"Why wouldn't you want your hottest hitter up there as many times as you can?"
Murphy has batted leadoff before, but never for extended periods. He was the Mets' leadoff man for seven games in May 2013, and also four times in 2009.
Collins suggested that this stay could last longer, because Murphy seems to be getting more selective at the plate. He has already walked 24 times this season, as compared to 32 in 161 games last year.
But Collins also admitted that he is still searching for anything that might get the Mets going. Leadoff is a natural place for him to experiment, especially with his two preferred leadoff hitters this season -- Eric Young Jr. and Juan Lagares -- both on the disabled list.
Granderson, a leadoff man through the early years of his career but the preferred cleanup hitter now, does not appear headed for the DL himself. The idea is that sitting him out for a day or two now will keep him from missing more time.
"Better safe than sorry," he said.
So Lucas Duda moved into the cleanup spot Thursday. And Daniel Murphy led off.
"The idea is you've got to try something," Collins said.
Murphy at leadoff was Thursday's try.
The d'Arnaud report: Collins was happy to see Travis d'Arnaud get off to a fast start after his demotion to Triple-A Las Vegas (6 for 10, with a double and two home runs), but he indicated that d'Arnaud isn't yet on the fast track back to the majors.
"He needs to be there a couple of weeks at least," Collins said. "I think 40-50 at-bats. I spent too many years in that [Pacific Coast] League. That's a very good hitting league. They were playing in Colorado Springs. There's four guys in this [interview] room who could get four hits in Colorado Springs, including [PR man Jay Horwitz].
"But at least it shows you [d'Arnaud] isn't pouting."
The EY report: Eric Young Jr. played his first minor-league rehab game Thursday with Class A St. Lucie. Collins and general manager Sandy Alderson said the Mets would like Young to get some at-bats at Las Vegas before rejoining the Mets. Young has been on the disabled list since May 25 with a right hamstring strain.