PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Terry Collins used spring training to tinker with the look of the Mets’ outfield against lefthanded pitching. But following Tuesday’s 1-0 loss to the Cardinals, the manager said that the Mets would likely stick with what worked for them late last year.
In games when Juan Lagares starts against lefthanded pitching, Collins said he will play centerfield, with Yoenis Cespedes sliding over to left.
“I just thought today would be a good day to get him out in leftfield for just one game,” Collins said after using the alignment against the Cardinals.
For much of camp, Collins had kept Cespedes in centerfield with Lagares in left, even though it meant playing both out of position. Cespedes is a Gold Glove winner in left and Lagares won one of his own in center.
In certain situations, Collins said Lagares could even see some action in rightfield, when Curtis Granderson is given a breather against lefties.
Pitching lined up
Noah Syndergaard will start the second game of the season against the Royals, with both Bartolo Colon and Steven Matz available in the bullpen.
The Mets had weighed the possibility of piggybacking Syndergaard with Matz in relief. But Collins said that he might stray from that plan.
“If [Syndergaard] goes out there and throws seven innings, eight innings,” Collins said, “we’ll probably go to our other guys.”
Jacob deGrom is tentatively scheduled to pitch the home opener, though he may be unavailable because of the birth of his child.
The Mets (7-15-5) haven’t won a Grapefruit League game since March 17 — a span of 12 contests without a victory. Is Collins worried?
“Not really,” he said. “Again, you’re looking at we’re trying to mix and match and do the best we can. I don’t know how to reiterate it. They don’t count. Whether we’re 21-1 or 1-21, they don’t count. Starting April 3, they mean something.”
Cespedes said he has no lingering issues with his right shoulder. According to Collins, Cespedes had complained of a twinge in his shoulder after making a throw in the outfield.