ATLANTA — In the past, even when Curtis Granderson’s batting average has lingered in the low .200s, the Mets outfielder still managed to get on base via the walk and hit home runs.
But even those standbys are missing from Granderson’s repertoire during what has been a rough opening stretch to the season.
“There’s a lot of at-bats still to be had,” said Granderson, who did not start Tuesday’s game against the Braves. “You just chalk it up to this is a segment [of at-bats] that hasn’t gone as well.”
Granderson is hitting .124/.177/.213 in his first 24 games, which includes just one homer and six walks. In his last eight games, he is just 1-for-29. With knuckleballer R.A. Dickey on the mound, manager Terry Collins saw an opening for an offday.
Said Collins: “Knuckleballers can throw you off and we don’t need that.”
Juan Lagares started in centerfield. Meanwhile, the timing seemed to work out for Granderson, who had already planned on taking early batting practice and working with hitting coach Kevin Long.
“You don’t necessarily have to change anything mechanical, it could just be something different and that’s what I’m trying to get to right now,” said Granderson, who pinch hit and flied out in the seventh. “We just tried to swing a little more relaxed than we have in the past, and obviously at 2:45 or whatever time it was, it makes it a lot easier to do that.”
Granderson, 36, is expected to be in the lineup on Wednesday against Bartolo Colon. Collins remains optimistic about a bounceback, which would keep Granderson in line with his tendency toward streakiness.
“We certainly think that’s going to happen again because that’s the track record,” Collins said. “But we’re entering May and we’ve got to get him started.”
Wilmer Flores (infection) was scheduled to continue his rehab assignment with Triple-A Las Vegas on Tuesday. He could be activated as soon as Friday. Brandon Nimmo (hamstring) was also scheduled to begin his rehab with Las Vegas . . . Lucas Duda (elbow) hit off a tee but the Mets are still not sure when he will resume his rehab . . . Steven Matz and Seth Lugo threw side sessions with no issue as they continue to work back from elbow injuries.