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Mets ponder using unusual starting lineup on Opening Day

Bartolo Colon of the Mets pops out in

Bartolo Colon of the Mets pops out in the third inning against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field on Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014. Credit: Jim McIsaac

WASHINGTON - The Mets have gone with an unorthodox 25-man roster to begin the season, choosing to carry an extra arm over an extra bat. So it shouldn't be much of a surprise that they're weighing an unusual starting lineup as well.

According to sources, one lineup being considered for Opening Day against the Nationals features Curtis Granderson leading off, with David Wright batting second and Lucas Duda hitting third. Michael Cuddyer would follow in the cleanup spot ahead of Daniel Murphy in fifth, just as manager Terry Collins had proposed on Saturday.

That alignment staggers lefties and righties and guards against unfavorable late-game matchups. It also might give the Mets' better hitters an additional at-bat.

After Murphy in the fifth spot, it's unclear how the rest of the proposed lineup shakes out. But if the Mets indeed stick with that top five -- as of Sunday night, it appeared that they would -- batting the pitcher eighth could make sense.

Yes, even if that pitcher happens to be Bartolo Colon, he of the patented twisted pretzel baseball swing and a lifetime average of .076.

With a position player hitting ninth instead of a pitcher, the Mets boost their odds of getting more runners on base ahead of Granderson, Wright and Duda. It also could lessen the chances of Collins burning a pinch hitter in that spot, an important consideration because it precedes the best hitters in the lineup.

It might be even more crucial considering the way the roster is constructed.

Collins generally will have to be more picky about when to deploy pinch hitters because his options are few, with only Ruben Tejada, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and John Mayberry Jr. available. Backup catcher Anthony Recker also is on the bench, but he's essentially out of play because the Mets must save him in case of an injury to starter Travis d'Arnaud.

It's why Collins has entertained the possibility of asking better-hitting pitchers such as Jacob deGrom to be ready for pinch-hitting duty on their off days.

Also worth noting is that the Mets no longer have an emergency catching option. Eric Campbell took on those responsibilities in spring training, but when the team went to a 13-man pitching staff to carry an extra reliever, it was Campbell who lost his roster spot.

The Mets added an arm to protect starters deGrom, Matt Harvey and Jon Niese, who could be pulled earlier from games because they have yet to build up their pitch counts to exceed 100.

Considering all of the above, the Mets' Opening Day lineup on Monday could look something like this:

Curtis Granderson (L) RF

David Wright (R) 3B

Lucas Duda (L) 1B

Michael Cuddyer (R) LF

Daniel Murphy (L) 2B

Wilmer Flores (R) SS

Juan Lagares (R) CF

Bartolo Colon (R) RHP

Travis d'Arnaud (R) C

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