SEATTLE - Interleague play often can place National League teams at a disadvantage. While their American League counterparts are structured to accommodate the designated hitter, NL squads often must hand those duties to a utility player.

The Mets, however, have not been a typical team.

For much of the season, manager Terry Collins has scrambled to find at-bats for six outfielders. But the extra spot in the lineup will make that task much easier -- at least during the Mariners series.

"We've been looking for at-bats for some guys, and these three games will allow us that," Collins said. "We've been looking forward to these three games for a while."

Lefthander Roenis Elias started for the Mariners in the series opener Monday night, so Eric Campbell played first base and Lucas Duda was the DH. With Seattle scheduled to start a pair of righties in the final two games of the three-game series, Bobby Abreu is expected to fill the DH role.

The Mets also have a series in Oakland in August, the final time this season they'll be able to use the designated hitter.

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Managing innings

Once again, Collins suggested that the Mets will pay close attention to the workloads of their starting pitchers.

That group includes Jonathon Niese, Monday night's starter, who had been sidelined with shoulder inflammation, and rookie Jacob deGrom, who might move to the bullpen temporarily to cut down his innings. Those measures don't appear to be on the immediate horizon, though.

"Right now, where we are in the season, there are some innings limits to some of these guys," Collins said. "They're not close to them at all."