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:
Sunday, March 31, 2013
Saturday, March 23, 2013
Sandy Alderson said there is no cavalry coming to the rescue in the outfield. That means it will be Lucas Duda, Collin Cowgill, Marlon Byrd, Mike Baxter and Jordany Valdespin in the outfield in some configuration to open the season in all likelihood, as long as Valdespin isn't pressed into infield duty by injuries.
"We're going to go with the guys we have," Alderson told Newsday about the outfield.
Terry Collins confirmed Friday that Byrd should be an everyday player, not in a platoon role, although Collins said he has not resolved how Byrd's time will be spread between right and center field.
"Due to his background ... we need to find out what he brings to the table, because he's got a track record of being a pretty good player, a pretty good offensive player," Collins said. "I want to see early enough what he can do."
The manager, who emphatically said at the start of camp that Duda would be his regular left fielder, was not quite as forceful as camp nears an end.
Asked if Duda remained the everyday left fielder, Collins only said Friday: "That's a possibility."
Terry Collins recently predicted that if Daniel Murphy did not enter a game by this weekend, it was virtually impossible for him to be ready by Opening Day.
Well, Collins said Murphy is not ready to enter a game Saturday. And it's becoming more likely Murphy opens the season on the disabled list than at second base at Citi Field on April 1.
Murphy played five innings in the field a week ago in a minor league game, but has not reentered a game since because stiffness surfaced. He has not had any spring-training at-bats. Murphy originally received a cortisone injection on his right side on Feb. 19 in New York for a strained intercostal muscle.
Collins said that Murphy did take batting practice Friday.
“We had a conversation this morning," the manager added. "He said, ‘I’ll be ready by Opening Day.’ I said, ‘Well, let’s talk about that next Wednesday or Thursday.’”