Murphy remains sore after playing five innings of defense in a minor league game last Friday. Terry Collins said to expect him to play no sooner than Wednesday, and if he’s not playing by the weekend he’ll open the season on the disabled list. Although Murphy has taken batting practice, he has not played in an exhibition game so he hasn’t faced game pitching.
Wright said he’s shooting for Opening Day, but is uncertain. He’s telling Collins he’s ready, but that could be wishful thinking. Since this has been fouled up enough as it is, the prudent thing is to make the decision to DL him where he’ll miss the least amount of time. That includes playing him in minor league games if he’s available to get on the field before Opening Day. If Wright were to play in major league spring training games and be injured, his DL time would be backdated from then.
Justin Turner, the projected third baseman while Wright is down, hopes to play by Thursday after spraining his right ankle last week. X-Rays were negative and he’s moving around, so the disabled list is unlikely,
Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who is out with a bruised left knee, hopes to bat in a minor league game today, but will not run the bases. That means no inside-the-park homers.
The following is today’s lineup against St. Louis at Jupiter:
Jordany Valdespin, cf: It is clear he has made the team, with his versatility being an asset. He’s also been hot at the plate, with another homer yesterday. Will play second if Murphy is not ready.
Ruben Tejada, ss: Hit well last year, but is on a miserable stretch this spring. Is it a slump or regression?
Lucas Duda, lf: Not hitting as the Mets hoped. Will bat lower in the order during the season. Strike outs and low on-base percentage remain issues.
Zach Lutz, lb: Wright’s injury has given him an outside chance of sticking early.
Matt den Dekker, rf: He would have a spot if he could hit.
Brandon Hicks, 3b: Getting the audition while Turner is ailing.
Omar Quintanilla, 2b: With injuries to Wright, Murphy and Turner, his versatility is a definite plus.
Matt Harvey, rhp: Lining up as the No. 2 starter behind Jon Niese.