Mets News and Notes:
Collins said he will use a regular outfield of Lucas Duda in left field, Collin Cowgill in center field and Marlon Byrd in right field, while trying to find opportunities off the bench for Jordany Valdespin, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Mike Baxter.
Nieuwenhuis likely will be a late-game defensive replacement for Duda.
"One of the things we've got to make sure we do, that's cover ourselves defensively," Collins said. "Be it center field, be it late for Lucas, or whatever it might be, he's the best outfielder we've got, in my opinion. Defensively he can really play center field. So we thought we could take him. Hopefully if he starts swinging, like he did last year, I'm sure he's going to get a lot of playing time. But he does give us a lot of security."
In his 15th professional season, 31-year-old Scott Rice is poised to make his major league debut during the upcoming week.
Rice, who played independent ball in 2008 with the Long Island Ducks and the following year with the Newark Bears, beat out Robert Carson to serve as a second lefty, alongside Josh Edgin, in the bullpen.
Collins said it was a no-brainer to put Rice on the roster -- even though it required making 40-man roster room -- because the southpaw is a “groundball machine.”
Mets Opening Day Lineup: