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Terry Collins says Ruben Tejada still could start at short

Ruben Tejada of the Mets reacts after his

Ruben Tejada of the Mets reacts after his second-inning RBI base hit against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field on Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

SAN DIEGO - The gesture could be little more than posturing by the Mets, who have made no secret of their desire to upgrade at shortstop.

But manager Terry Collins said on Monday that he still considers Ruben Tejada a viable candidate for the job, and cautioned against assuming that Wilmer Flores will enter spring training as the starter.

"Well, as I sit here today," Collins said, "I'm not going to name Wilmer Flores [the starter] just yet."

The comment came one day after general manager Sandy Alderson indicated that Flores is most likely to start. Of course, the point could be moot if the Mets emerge from the offseason with a new shortstop, though the choices appear limited.

The Mets have engaged the Mariners in talks about Brad Miller and Chris Taylor, but a source said it's unclear whether the Mariners are willing to move either player.

Alderson did not rule out turning to the international market for a potential shortstop, with Takashi Toritani of Japan and Jung-Ho Kang of South Korea available.

According to a source, the Mets' interest is more a matter of due diligence.

Around the diamond

The Mets and Rangers have been linked as trade partners, with Elvis Andrus, Luis Sardinas and Jurickson Profar as potential shortstop targets. But despite persistent rumblings of a possible deal, a source said the Mets have major reservations about Andrus' ability at the plate and profile Sardinas as more of a utility player.

The Mets hold Profar in high regard, the source said. But he missed all of last season with a shoulder injury, effectively taking him out of consideration because of the cost it would take to acquire him combined with the risk involved with his health.

Bobby Parnell's rehab from Tommy John surgery likely will keep him from being ready for Opening Day, though Collins considers him the team's closer. Until he returns, Collins said Vic Black could compete with Jenrry Mejia for the job . . . Michael Cuddyer appears likely to play rightfield, with Curtis Granderson moving to leftfield, Collins said . . . The Mets' plan to limit Matt Harvey's innings next season might include a 10-day midsummer hiatus in which he is skipped for two starts, Collins said . . . Director of minor-league operations Jon Miller will leave the organization at the end of the year, a source confirmed.

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