NEW YORK -- Mets manager Terry Collins was happy to pencil in Andres Torres at the top of his lineup on Friday, especially after the center fielder came a single short of the cycle with three RBIs on Thursday afternoon. And if Torres can keep up his recent pace -- he's batting .338 with a .434 on-base percentage since the All-Star break -- the Mets might have a pretty good one-two punch going forward.
Shortstop Ruben Tejada has been Collins' leadoff guy for most of the second half of the season, but the skipper has repeatedly said he thinks Tejada will thrive as a No.2 hitter, barring having a leadoff guy who can get on base.
But that option just hasn't been there for the Mets this season -- Torres has shown flashes of his ability to get on base from the leadoff spot, but nothing consistent enough to land him there on a daily basis. Tejada has been more than a viable option from the top of the order -- he's hitting .323 from the leadoff spot this season -- but if Torres can ride his recent success at the plate through this weekend, Collins said he'd be excited to see some production from the top two hitters in his order.
"I do think Ruben Tejada, eventually if he had that guy that could lead off, will be one of the really, really good No. 2 hitters in the game, because he can handle the bat, he works the count and he doesn't mind seeing strike one or strike two to let a guy run ahead of him," Collins said. "And he can still put the bat on the ball."
Collins had nothing but good things to say about Tejada's role as a leadoff hitter, but admitted that Torres' speed makes him an extra threat if he can get on base from the top spot in the lineup.
"[Tejada] has done a magnificent job in the leadoff spot. That discipline adds to getting on base, he's done it," Collins said. "I don't know that you necessarily need to be a basestealer as a leadoff guy, per se, I think getting on is good enough, but Andres fits that role pretty good when he's getting on base."
Entering Friday, Tejada was batting .312 (24-for-77) in the No. 2 spot this season.