Torres back in center, hits seventh in lineup

Torres back in center, hits seventh in lineup

HOUSTON -- Andres Torres returned to the Mets' lineup on Monday, playing center field and batting seventh in the 4-3 loss to the Astros. Manager Terry Collins said the lineup decision was two-fold.

"He really hasn't had a lot of at-bats, so I didn't want to mess around with the leadoff spot just yet," Collins said before the game. "You're looking at 25 at-bats in Spring Training. In the five-game rehab, he's probably had 20 more at-bats. That's not a lot to start the season.

"And the one thing he does at the bottom of the order, if they bring in a lefty, we've got a righty that can basically break those lefties up."

Torres, who went 1-for-4 with an RBI in his first game, said the strained calf that sent him to the DL on April 6 was feeling good enough to get back out in center field.

"It feels great," said Torres, who hit .263 (5-for-19) with four runs scored and three stolen bases in five rehab games. "It feels real good, I made some running catches, stole some bases, and it felt great."

To make room on the roster, the Mets optioned Zach Lutz to Triple-A Buffalo of the International League after Sunday's game.