Terry Collins watches his team during a game against the...

Terry Collins watches his team during a game against the Tampa Bay Rays. (June 12, 2012) Credit: Getty Images

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Mets manager Terry Collins officially was named to the National League coaching staff by manager Tony La Russa for the All-Star Game Wednesday. The decision actually was made in spring training when La Russa contacted Collins.

“It’s an honor to be asked, and certainly it’s a thrill to be associated with the game itself,” Collins said. “I told Tony I was shocked.”

La Russa retired after leading the Cardinals to the World Series title last season, but he has known Collins since he managed Houston. “He has a real good grasp of the game, but the thing I like that makes him effective is he’s got a great personality,” LaRussa said. “One of the things we hope to do with the National League team is, just for those couple of days, really have them come together.”

The Mets manager earned La Russa’s empathy for the way he handled Johan Santana’s 134-pitch no-hitter. La Russa called the situation a “terrific dilemma,” understanding Collins wanted to hold Santana to 115 pitches or fewer after shoulder surgery but was unable to stand in the way of history.

“When Santana got the last out, you look at [Collins’] face, and he was the only guy in the ballpark that was not cheering and celebrating,” LaRussa said. “I knew it was because he had doubts about pushing it . . . I just wanted to let him know before he ever found out if Johan had extra soreness or stiffness, in my opinion, he did the right thing.”

...Reserve infielder Justin Turner is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Buffalo Thursday, meaning the Mets soon will have another healthy body to use at shortstop. . . . Although Santana got pounded by the Yankees in his first start after the no-hitter, Collins said he left him in long enough to get more than 80 pitches to keep him “in sync” for the next start . . . Collins confirmed reliever Miguel Batista is likely to get the eighth-inning setup role, saying, “We’ve been trying to figure out an answer, and maybe we have an answer in Miguel Batista to fill that bridge to the ninth inning.”

More MLB news


Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months