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Torres might not be ready for opener

Andres Torres hits a three-run triple during the

Andres Torres hits a three-run triple during the fourth inning of a spring training game. (March 6, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

JUPITER, Fla. — Terry Collins said Andres Torres felt “awkward” in the batter’s box during Friday’s minor-league appearance, which did nothing to alleviate concerns that the Mets could be without their centerfielder and leadoff hitter for Opening Day.

Torres had been sidelined since March 20 with a left calf strain, but now that he’s feeling better, his lack of game reps could make him a candidate to begin the season on the disabled list.

“He could be,” Collins said.

“That’s the decision we’ll have to make next week — what stage we think he’s at. Are we better off getting him up there, and getting at-bats, and getting him back in shape with us because he’s still a big part of the club? Or do we leave him down and go with somebody else in center?”

As of now, those options appear to be Scott Hairston, Mike Baxter and maybe even Vinny Rottino, who Collins said can play multiple positions, including center.

The Mets are fearful of testing Torres in a Grapefruit League game because that will prevent him from being backdated on the DL if he’s injured again.

Torres did not play the field. Collins said Saturday’s plan is to have him in another minor-league game.

“We can’t play him in a game [with us] until we know we’re not going to have to disable him,” Collins said. “We may have to do that.”


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