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Mets make lineup changes on Opening Day

New York Mets Eric Young photographed during photo

New York Mets Eric Young photographed during photo day Wednesday Feb 26, 2014 at Port St. Lucie Fla. Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

Terry Collins worked much like a plate-spinner in spring training, frantically trying to piece together a lineup despite injuries and other unexpected things. So, it seemed only appropriate that on Opening Day, Collins was once again forced to juggle.

Outfielder Chris Young suffered a strained right quad late in Saturday’s exhibition game against the Blue Jays in Montreal. Second baseman Daniel Murphy flew back to Florida to be with his wife for the birth of the couple’s first child. And several members of the Mets reported to Citi Field with the flu.

-- Ike Davis started at first base. At least for now, Collins expects to play the hot hand at first base, going with favorable matchups. Collins cited Davis’ track record against Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg [4-for-12, 2 homers]. But general manager Sandy Alderson said he does not expect the ambiguous playing time situation at first base to go on “indefinitely.”

-- Andrew Brown started in leftfield, while Eric Young Jr. took over for Murphy at second base. Collins said Lucas Duda might have been in the lineup on Monday as an outfielder had he not suffered a hamstring injury in spring training that sidelined him for nearly three weeks.

-- Chris Young said he will be available to pinch hit against the Nationals. Young felt a twinge in his quad after running out a grounder late in the game against the Blue Jays. Earlier, he made several running catches while playing centerfield.

-- Jenrry Mejia remains on track to start on Friday against the Reds. He was hit in the right forearm by a comebacker in Montreal last Friday. But Collins said he played catch on Sunday while an exam revealed no major issues.

-- If the Mets find themselves in contention later in the season, Alderson insisted that the club has the money to add a significant upgrade. “If a player is available to us later in the year and presuming we have some success to that point in the season, then yes, absolutely,” he said. Mets’ payroll has remained around $90 million in each of the last three seasons.

Opening Day lineups

Nationals

Denard Span CF

Ryan Zimmerman 3B

Jayson Werth RF

Wilson Ramos C

Bryce Harper LF

Ian Desmond SS

Adam LaRoche 1B

Anthony Rendon 2B

Stephen Strasburg RHP

Mets

Eric Young Jr. 2B

Juan Lagares CF

David Wright 3B

Curtis Granderson RF

Andrew Brown LF

Ike Davis 1B

Travis d’Arnaud C

Ruben Tejada SS

Dillon Gee RHP

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