PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Terry Collins said he took no issue with former Mets shortstop Jose Reyes, who in an interview with Newsday slammed the work ethic of his one-time teammate, Ruben Tejada.
"I don't think there's anything wrong with one of your peers challenging you once in a while,'' Collins told Newsday.
Tejada shrugged off Reyes' comments Saturday, telling reporters he wasn't aware of the latest round of criticism.
"I don't really pay attention to rumors,'' said Tejada, who praised Reyes for working with him in the past. "I try to do my best and come every day to work hard.''
Collins has been one of Tejada's loudest advocates, but in this case, he deferred to the Toronto shortstop.
"Jose Reyes is a guy who gets ready to play,'' Collins said. "I think the world of Jose Reyes. Apparently, he may know something I don't . . . They were good buddies when they were here and I think Jose might know some things that I don't know.''
When Reyes departed via free agency, Tejada stepped into his old job and promptly struggled to keep it. He also irked many in the organization with his perceived lack of work ethic, leading him to seek the counsel of Reyes.
"I take the good things,'' Tejada said. "He tried to push me up and tried to help me. And that's the way to take that comment.''
A shift up top
Juan Lagares is the Mets' top choice to hit in the leadoff spot -- assuming he shows improved plate discipline in spring training. Lagares posted a .321 on-base percentage last season; the Mets want to see that number closer to .330-.340.
"You'd like it higher, but we've got to start out with a reachable number,'' Collins said. "I think he's got a ways to go.''
The Mets view Curtis Granderson as the top fallback option if Lagares doesn't lead off. Granderson might hit second if the Mets move Daniel Murphy down to increase his RBI opportunities.
The Mets have discussed batting the pitcher eighth, as they did occasionally last season . . . Rain forced Saturday's workouts indoors.