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For Terry Collins, things are looking up

Mets manager Terry Collins talks to the media

Mets manager Terry Collins talks to the media on Friday, Feb. 14, 2014 during spring training in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Photo Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

Amnesia is good. And Mets manager Terry Collins appears to have a case of it.

His team still is only 21-25 after Thursday night's 5-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers, but Collins' decision to play eight-game major-league veteran Eric Campbell in leftfield -- instead of his assumed first-base role -- paid off with what probably was a game-saving catch.

And Collins saw plenty of other positives. Jenrry Mejia, who repeatedly has said he considers himself a starting pitching and didn't believe he should lose his job in the rotation, completed his second consecutive perfect ninth inning and insisted he "enjoys my bullpen; it's my new house over there.''

To have Mejia as a closer, Collins said, "is big for me but it's huge for him. The one thing he's worried about is his arm. If he knows he can get through this , it's a huge addition for us.''

Also, Collins noted, "The rightfielder is starting to warm up, and that means it's going to be a different-looking team.'' He was referring to the fact that Curtis Granderson, after a horrendous month of April, added two more hits -- a double and a booming triple -- and is hitting .310 this month, with 14 RBIs in 19 May games.

"All of a sudden now'' -- with Granderson producing -- "they've got to pitch to Number 5,'' Collins said, "and David Wright will be the player he's been in the past.''

Wright, with two hits Thursday, has 30 hits this month.

Collins is feeling pretty good about his basic approach. "Don't show panic in May,'' he said, "because the players are going to feed off it. You start to panic, they start to panic. We've got 120 [games] to go.

"I just think that we're trying to do some stuff, but as I told some of the guys, this is when you find out if you can play here. Find this out. Get through it. We start swinging the bats and we get hot, we're back on the horse. We're not playing good, we're five games out. That can be made up real fast -- especially in our league.

"You look at who's here. We got that young centerfielder [Juan Lagares], that young shortstop [Wilmer Flores], we've got young guys in the bullpen. That's what we've talked about for a while, allowing our system to get to the point where they were starting to send some guys here who can make a contribution.

"And they're here. And they're coming. There's some guys [in the minors] that aren't very far away. Position players. People are saying you haven't got any position players. The young guys are starting to pop up here. And they're making a difference.''

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