So much for the Jordany Valdespin experiment at second base until Ike Davis returns, but the premise of what I wrote earlier remains the same: the New York Mets don’t have an idea of what to do with the mercurial role player.
Terry Collins said he would give Valdespin a week at second base leading off. Valdespin responded by hitting .130 (3-for-23) in that span, and one week later is back to the bench. The outfield is out for now, with Collins saying he needed to see more from Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Juan Lagares, and Marlon Byrd, one of the few Mets who is hitting.
Saying, `you’re allowed to change,’ ’’ Collins returned Valdespin to the bench for Monday’s series opener in Atlanta. Along with that move, Daniel Murphy will go back to second and Lucas Duda will move in from left to play first.
This juggling improves the Mets’ defense, which is a positive. The Mets claim second base is Valdespin’s natural position, but he had problems, especially turning the double play. Murphy is an upgrade, as is Duda an upgrade over Murphy at first base.
Duda deferred to Davis, calling it “Ike’s position,’’ and adding, “I played there most of my amateur career. Hopefully I can just get the job done, and catch the ball and throw it.’’
Collins insisted the job was still Davis’ when he returns, but could not elaborate when that might be. Davis is still struggling at Triple-A Las Vegas.
Collins attempted to soothe Valdespin’s now-bruised ego, saying he still has value coming off the bench. It will be interesting to see how Valdespin responds when Collins asks him to pinch-hit.
There’s rain in the forecast tonight in Atlanta, but should the Mets start their 65th game of the season, it will be with their 53rd different lineup.
TONIGHT’S BATTING ORDER
Juan Lagares, CF: Is hitting .308 over his last ten games.
Daniel Murphy, 2B: Thrilled to be back at second. Hitting .336 on the road (38-113) this season.
David Wright, 3B: Has hit in eight of last nine games, going 16-for-38 (.421).
Lucas Duda, 1B: Back at first base, where he has played well. Hitting .146 (7-48) with RISP.
Marlon Byrd, RF: Has eight RBI in last 11 games.
John Buck, C: Since May 5, is hitting .190, going 22-for-116 in that span, including 34 strikeouts.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis, LF: His game-winning three-run homer Sunday will buy him some more time.
Omar Quintanilla, SS: Takes a 0-for-17 slide into the game.
Dillon Gee, RHP: In four career starts at Turner Field, he is 2-0 with a 2.57 ERA.
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