Collins to set new rules on card games

Mets manager Terry Collins during Monday's spring training

Mets manager Terry Collins during Monday's spring training workout. (Feb. 21, 2011) (Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa)

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Terry Collins said Monday that he intends to wait to impose his regular-season rules until the Mets get closer to Opening Day. But the new manager did suggest there will be a "cutoff time" for card-playing and other recreational activities on game days.

The New York Post first reported that Collins plans to specifically target card games, which is what got former hitting coach Howard Johnson riled up last year. He scolded the team in late August during a hitters' meeting, and now that Johnson has been replaced by Dave Hudgens, Collins wants to make sure it doesn't become an issue again.

"I wasn't there last year," Collins said. "I understand there's a time you've got to relax. But there's going to be a time we're going to shut it off and get ready to play. When I told them, they said absolutely, we agree."

David Wright is among the Mets' most avid card players, and he had almost daily games with a foursome that included Jeff Francoeur, Rod Barajas and Jason Bay. Francoeur and Barajas are elsewhere this year, but Wright never saw it as a major problem.

"I think it's good to have a set time to shut that stuff off," Wright said. "But we're all professionals and grown men who do this for a living. If you choose to play cards instead of getting ready to play a game, then we've got much bigger problems than just playing cards."

Even so, the new regime already has made an impression. There has been no card-playing in the clubhouse this year - it was a daily occurrence last spring training - and the Mets had a very businesslike approach to their first full-squad workout.

"Right now, it's show up on time, get your work done, let's get out of there," Collins said. "Let's get our work done efficiently, let's get our work done with some energy and some enthusiasm."

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