Torres' status for opener is uncertain

Torres' status for opener is uncertain

JUPITER, Fla. -- Outfielder Andres Torres looked "awkward" while batting in a Minor League game on Friday, Mets manager Terry Collins said, leading to continued uncertainty over whether Torres will be ready for Opening Day.

Finishing 1-for-5 with a single, Torres did not play the field in his first game action since straining his left calf 11 days ago.

"When you don't play for 10 days, two weeks, you can get like that," Collins said. "He's hit in the cage and he's hit off a machine. He's tracked. He's done all the [preliminary] stuff. Now, he's just got to get in there and start to see live pitching, try to pick up [the ball's] rotation and other things that big league hitters do."

Torres will not be able to do that in Grapefruit League games, where his presence would prevent the Mets from backdating a potential disabled-list stint to start the season. The Mets will only use him in one of their final five Major League exhibitions if the center fielder proves completely healthy in Minor League games.

Though that does not necessarily preclude Torres from breaking camp with the team, it certainly makes it more difficult.

"That's the decision we'll have to make next week: what stage we think he's at," Collins said. "Are we better off getting him up there and getting him at-bats and getting him in shape with us, because he's still a big part of the club? Or do we leave him down and go with somebody else in center?"

That somebody would be Scott Hairston, who has recently proven himself healthy after a long battle with a strained left oblique muscle. If Torres does not make the Opening Day roster, it would also open up a spot for Vinny Rottino, who is capable of playing first base, third base and catcher in addition to the outfield.