The return of center fielder Andres Torres and left-handed reliever Tim Byrdak allowed New York to use its roster at full strength Tuesday in the team's 7-6 victory over the Yankees. In order to make room for Torres and Byrdak, the Mets sent catcher Vinny Rottino and pitcher Daniel Herrera to Triple-A Buffalo.
"It's unbelievable [that we had to wait this long to use this lineup]," Collins said. "We like to post the lineup early, and we couldn't even do that until we had all the things in place this morning."
Torres, who has been out with a strained left calf, played in his first Grapefruit League game since March 20 on Tuesday, and he is expected to be ready for Opening Day.
In the leadoff spot, Torres went 1-for-1 and scored two runs, one from second base and the other from first base, as he tested out his calf. He left after the second inning for precautionary reasons.
"When he scored from first, I said that was enough," Collins said. "I just said if there's a time when [he can hurt his calf again], it's going to be due to fatigue. So after he scored from first, I thought that was enough."
Torres is expected to see more at-bats against the Yankees in Tampa on Wednesday, in an effort to get ready for Opening Day on Thursday.
The news was just as good regarding Byrdak, who made his first appearance on the mound in a Grapefruit League game since March 8. The left-hander threw one perfect inning and struck out one batter, and he is also expected to make the Opening Day roster after undergoing left knee surgery in mid-March.
"It was one of those things where they gave me the timeline, and I understood if everything fell into place and there was no setbacks, it was going to be a really tight window for me to get ready for Opening Day," Byrdak said. "But with the amount of work I've been doing down here for the past week to 10 days, we're ready to go."