Rusty Staub, who played for the Mets in nine of his 23 years in major-league baseball, said Wednesday night that he could never recall a manager pinch hitting for a player to keep him from possibly getting hit by a pitch, as Terry Collins did with David Wright on Tuesday night.
Neither, for that matter, had Collins. "Never have," he said Wednesday night.
Or maybe he's just the first manager to publicly admit it afterward.
Mets reliever D.J. Carrasco had just been ejected for hitting defending NL MVP Ryan Braun with the first pitch following a Rickie Weeks home run. After the third out, Collins informed Wright that he was not going to bat leadoff in the bottom half.
Wright and Collins engaged in a heated discussion in the dugout in full view of SNY's cameras. They later had a less animated talk in the dugout. Collins and Wright said there was no issue between them. They repeated that before Wednesday night's series opener against the Reds.
"I've said it once, I've said it a million times that Terry and I have a great relationship," Wright said. "I love playing for him. That's not just talk. I really enjoy it."
Still, Wright felt the need to reach out to his manager after the game via text message. Collins said it was unnecessary, but appreciated. "It's just David," Collins said. "He just wanted to reiterate what we talked about on the bench."
Collins said he took out Wright and Murphy so they wouldn't get injured if the Brewers decided to retaliate. They didn't. The teams don't meet again until Sept. 14 in Milwaukee.
"Again," Collins said, "Tuesday night's situation only took place because it was 8-0. I'm not going to get my guy hurt in 8-0. It's 3-2, go bite the bullet. In that particular situation, I did not feel that was the time to sacrifice my best player."
Said Wright: "I get it. This is baseball. It's kind of a complicated, unfortunate situation."
Said Collins: "When we hit the guy, then I knew I was taking him out of the game. Because he's a professional, he knew it was his duty to go get hit if that was the case."
Darling, who called the game for SNY, said Collins made the right move.
"It's incredibly smart," he said. "I think one of the best things that Terry does is manage people and he manages that fine line between making sure you take care of the individual, but not over the team concept. And that's what it was. It was a no-brainer. He had to do it. It was a great move."
If there were any hard feelings at all, they would have been directed at Carrasco, who continued to maintain Wednesday night that he was not throwing at Braun.
"I'm certainly going to believe him," Collins said. "I have no reason not to. If he did it on purpose, he put us in a bad situation. And I told him so."