Despite a preference for a consistent line-up, manager Terry Collins knows the importance of keeping every player sharp, which can be hard to do when the weather is cold.
Collins said this was not to be interpreted as a setback for Daniel Murphy, who missed most of spring training with a strained right intercostal muscle. Murphy has shown no signs of being reinjured or in discomfort, although he’s struggling at the plate, going 2-for-9.
Collins also plans to give left-handed hitters Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Mike Baxter and Jordany Valdespin each a start. It is presumed Nieuwenhuis will start in center and Baxter in right, but Valdespin is undecided.
Here’s this afternoon’s batting order against the Padres’ Stults:
Collin Cowgill, CF: Won the center field job by hitting .303 in spring training. Hit a grand slam in the opener, becoming the first Met to slam in his debut.
Justin Turner, 2B: Sustained ankle sprain at the end of spring training, but it was a last-day decision to keep him off the disabled list.
David Wright, 3B: Wright is 2-for-7 on the homestand with two stolen bases. He’s 3-for-6 lifetime against Stults.
Ike Davis, 1B: After striking out four times in the opener he hit a two-run homer last night. Davis hit .327 in spring training so he wasn’t concerned about Monday’s strikeouts.
Marlon Byrd, RF: Has three hits in the first two games, including two with runners in scoring position. Hit 16 homers playing winter ball in Mexico, so there’s some pop in his bat.
Lucas Duda, LF: His on-base percentage was a preseason concern, but he’s reached base five times in the two games, including a mammoth two-run homer last night. After a slow start this spring he finished at .270.
John Buck, C: Making his third straight start, which is surprising considering it is a day game following a night game. But, four hits in two games, including a two-run homer last night kept him in the line-up. The chemistry has been immediate with the starters.
Ruben Tejada, SS: Had a brutal spring hitting .096 in 21 games, but drove in the Mets’ first run of the season with a double. Had five hits in spring training, but two already. Committed an error last night.
Dillon Gee, RHP: Making his first start since undergoing shoulder surgery last July to repair a blocked artery. Went 1-2 with a 5.87 ERA in spring training.
The following is San Diego’s line-up:
Everth Cabrera, SS
Will Venable, RF
Mark Kotsay, LF
Yonder Alonso, 1B
Jedd Gyorko, 3B
Alexi Amarista, 2B
Cameron Maybin, CF
John Baker, C
Eric Stults, LHP