Mets' lineup changes generated by Terry Collins and coaching staff, not front office
By MARC CARIG email@example.com
WASHINGTON - The Mets' unusual starting lineup on Opening Day has generated plenty of buzz, with much of it centering on its origins.
Did Terry Collins actually choose to bat David Wright in the second spot after years of slotting him third? Or did the manager simply acquiesce to a front-office mandate?
Whatever the case, don't expect a change anytime soon.
According to sources, the Mets intend to stick with roughly the same lineup Wednesday night against the Nationals. And the plan is to keep it for the foreseeable future, even against lefthanded pitching.
That means Curtis Granderson will lead off, with Wright behind him. Lucas Duda will bat third, one up from his usual cleanup spot, where Michael Cuddyer has taken over. Daniel Murphy will bat fifth, where Collins hopes he'll be better positioned to hit with runners on base.
On Monday, before a season-opening 3-1 win over the Nationals, Wright played down the slightly altered lineup.
"I batted second plenty of times in spring training, so this isn't some huge surprise to anybody really," Wright said.
When Collins first brought up the idea in spring training, Wright said he cut off the manager to make it clear that he'd be comfortable anywhere in the lineup.
"Terry, I don't care," Wright said he told the manager. "Bat me wherever you think is best to help this team win, whether it's second, third, sixth, seventh, it doesn't matter, especially after the first inning. The lineup flips. It really means nothing."
Sources insisted Tuesday that the adjusted lineup stemmed from conversations within the coaching staff, which only later brought the idea to the front office.
"The front office gave their input, but this lineup was strictly Terry and his coaching staff," one source said.
Though the overall look of the order is expected to remain the same, a source said that some changes might come at the bottom, with the staff still undecided about whether to bat the pitcher eighth.
With the weak-hitting Bartolo Colon starting on Opening Day, the Mets left him in the traditional ninth spot.
But Wednesday night's starter, Jacob deGrom, has been one of the better-hitting pitchers on the staff and could be moved into the eighth spot. The same goes for Matt Harvey, who makes his first start since August 2013 Thursday afternoon.