The Mets' Zack Wheeler wipes his face during the first...

The Mets' Zack Wheeler wipes his face during the first inning of a game against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday, May 13, 2014. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Terry Collins began his tenure as Mets manager in the 2011 season. Since then, his pitching staffs have never come close to leading the league in walks. And in each of the last two seasons, the Mets have been among the stingiest teams when it comes to issuing free passes.

But this season the Mets have paid the price for self-inflicted wounds. Entering play Saturday night against the Giants, the Mets' pitching staff led the National League with 224 walks, just ahead of the Phillies (216) and the Pirates (199).

"We've certainly got to do a better job because that's one thing we have not done here is walk people," Collins said.

Zack Wheeler leads the Mets with 29 walks, though he has curtailed those numbers of late. Wheeler issued 24 free passes over his first eight starts, but in his last four outings he has just five.

Collins views the spike in walks as a matter of focus.

"I really believe at this level, these guys have all the ability in the world, they're the best of the best," Collins said. "It comes down to the mental side, is their concentration broken?"

Draft day

The Mets drafted Garden City product Jim Duff, a 6-6 righthanded pitcher out of Stonehill College in Massachusetts, in the 20th round, and 6-2 righthander Tyler Badamo out of Dowling College in the 24th round.

Mets scouting director Tommy Tanous said Duff is a "big kid, strike-thrower, a lot of ground balls, anywhere from 86 to 90. A really reliable kid."

Tanous called Badamo "another strike-thrower . . . a guy we tend to like."

The Red Sox drafted Bradley Wilpon, the son of Mets COO Jeff Wilpon, in the 36th round, but he intends to pitch for Penn.

Extra bases

Ruben Tejada's recent hot streak has Collins considering him for the leadoff spot . . . With a day game Sunday, Anthony Recker started at catcher Saturday night ahead of slumping Travis d'Arnaud . . . Third baseman David Wright could have his first day off of the season in Sunday's series finale.


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