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Terry Collins remains upbeat despite disappointing start

Manager Terry Collins of the Mets looks on

Manager Terry Collins of the Mets looks on before a game against the San Diego Padres at Citi Field on Friday, June 13, 2014. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Terry Collins got a private vote of confidence from ownership earlier this week in addition to the public one from general manager Sandy Alderson, a baseball source told Newsday on Friday night.

The Mets manager, reported Tuesday to be on the hot seat, was assured privately that his seat is not that hot after all. That was before Alderson went out and told reporters, "He's not going anywhere."

Collins' job security has become an issue in some quarters as the Mets have suffered through a June swoon. They are 30-37 after Friday night's 6-2 win over the Padres in a game delayed nearly two hours by rain at the start.

Cleanup hitter Bobby Abreu was 4-for-4 with a double and two RBIs and Bartolo Colon (6-5) allowed two runs in 71/3 innings. Abreu, 40, and Colon, 41, starred in a game that began at 9:06 p.m. after a vicious storm drove through Flushing.

The Mets had lost eight of nine after going 6-1 following the Memorial Day firing of hitting coach Dave Hudgens. Two days later, the Mets denied a report that chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon overruled Alderson and ordered Hudgens' dismissal.

Collins met with Wilpon and Alderson yesterday to discuss routine club matters. Collins, who is in the first year of a two-year contract with an option for 2016, has drawn high marks from Mets brass for maintaining an upbeat manner despite the team's struggles in what was supposed to be a bounce-back season.

Even as the Mets were preparing Friday night for a less-than-marquee matchup against the 28-39 Padres (losers of nine of 11 themselves), Collins managed to speak enthusiastically about the task at hand.

"One of the things -- it may sound silly -- but that's fun about being here right now: It's work," he said. "It's a challenge, getting up here and coming to the ballpark and trying to figure out how to win. You don't have some of your guns that you need, so you're saying, 'OK, who do I get in there, how do I fix this to try to get us to be successful?' "

He hasn't been able to make the Mets successful lately despite solid starting pitching. Collins has become part cheerleader and part tough-love father figure as he tries to win while developing young players and dealing with injuries and poor performance.

"One of the things we've tried to do here is create an atmosphere where guys understand what it is to play at this level," Collins said. "The game sometimes isn't friendly. But they've got to go out and keep doing their jobs, and that's what they're doing."

Collins has heaped praise on his starting pitchers, including Jon Niese, who has a 2.54 ERA and only three wins. Niese was visibly upset when Collins removed him in the eighth inning of a tie game Thursday night and was seen mouthing an obscenity on the mound. Collins shrugged it off after the game.

According to a source, Collins was much more annoyed when Zack Wheeler turned his back to him when he went out to remove Wheeler during a recent outing. He told the 24-year-old righthander that was not proper.

But Collins has seemed remarkably buoyant throughout the Mets' latest struggles. He's going to get some more time to try to get things turned around.

"It's a constant battle," he said, "and that's what I think is the fun part is, the challenge of it all."

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