NEW YORK -- Mets outfielder Andres Torres returned to the lineup Thursday after a two-game absence, but not in his usual leadoff spot. Manager Terry Collins slotted the slumping Torres seventh in the order, putting hot-hitting shortstop Ronny Cedeno atop his lineup card.
"[Torres is] struggling, but it starts pretty much with Ronny Cedeno," Collins said of his decision. "Ronny Cedeno has done nothing except buy in exactly to what we want him to do. He walks. His on-base is almost .400. He's swinging the bat very good right now. We've been looking for someone in that leadoff spot to get on base so that when three, four and five come up, there's some people up there they can drive in."
That is the opposite of what Torres has done, stuck in a 1-for-34 funk. Though Torres appeared in the team's last two games as a pinch-hitter and defensive replacement, respectively, he was a healthy scratch from the starting lineup on each occasion.
Collins believes that slotting Torres lower in the lineup could help jump-start his production, considering how hot the outfielder was before moving to leadoff earlier this month. Torres was 5-for-12 in three starts batting seventh.
Overall, Torres is hitting .187 with a .330 on-base percentage, the latter mark more than 60 points lower than that of Cedeno. Though Cedeno holds a .289 career on-base mark, the Mets believe his improved plate discipline is sustainable, with Collins going as far as to indicate that his time in the leadoff spot may not be limited to just one game.