Murphy off, Hairston bats cleanup vs. Fish lefty

Murphy off, Hairston bats cleanup vs. Fish lefty

NEW YORK -- Tuesday's Mets lineup took on a curious look, with Scott Hairston batting cleanup and playing right field, Daniel Murphy on the bench, and Lucas Duda manning first base for the first time since the trade of Carlos Beltran.

The alignment, manager Terry Collins said, was designed to give extra at-bats to Hairston against Marlins left-handed starting pitcher Brad Hand, as well as provide a scheduled off-day for Murphy while keeping Duda's bat in the lineup.

"I'm searching right now for some days off for some people," Collins said. "We're going to try to come up with some other rotations to get some other guys days off this week."

That plan, Collins said, will eventually include shortstop Jose Reyes and third baseman David Wright, as well. Searching for a chance to give his shortstop a day of rest since Reyes returned from the disabled list last month, Collins has been hesitant to do so given Reyes' reluctance to the idea.

But Collins changed his tune following what he called a "draining" 10-day road trip, amidst near-constant 90-degree temperatures in Miami, Cincinnati and Washington.