On-Base Perception

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Collins: That pop fly's got to get caught

Terry Collins watches batting practice before playing the

Terry Collins watches batting practice before playing the Houston Astros. (May 1, 2012) (Credit: Getty Images)

HOUSTON — The pop fly that fell between Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Ruben Tejada in the sixth inning Monday night gnawed at Nieuwenhuis after the Mets’ 4-3 loss to the Astros.

The rookie, who was playing in his first professional game in left, said he should have caught what became a single by Jed Lowrie in the Astros’ three-run inning.

Mets manager Terry Collins agreed.

“That ball’s got to get caught,” Collins said Tuesday night before the Mets played the Astros. “One of them’s got to catch it.”

Collins used the incident as an example of what the Mets will have to live with since they are starting relatively inexperienced players at every position except centerfield and third base, because leftfielder Jason Bay is out. It’s why he has to temper his enthusiasm somewhat about the team’s 13-10 April.

“Let’s be realistic here,” Collins said. “This is a work in progress. Let’s not get down, let’s stay positive, let’s continue to work, let’s continue to get better. Don’t get down when a pop-up drops in. It may drop in today, but don’t let it drop in anymore. That’s how we’re going to get better.

“When you have a good start like we’ve had, expectations come along with it. But we’ve got to be realistic enough to know that there’s going to be some bumps in the road.” \

Extra bases

Mike Pelfrey had successful Tommy John elbow surgery in Gulf Breeze, Fla. He will be out at least a year ... Closer Frank Francisco, who had a slight hamstring strain Monday night, was available Tuesday night ... Ronny Cedeño, who is on the disabled list with a rib-cage strain, is starting to feel better and could be back next week, Collins said ... Former Mets manager Art Howe visited Collins in the clubhouse before the game. Howe works as a broadcaster for the Astros.

Tags: Terry Collins , Kirk Nieuwenhuis , Ruben Tejada

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