CINCINNATI -- The last time Mike Baxter batted leadoff, he made a crashing catch against the outfield wall, displaced his collarbone, preserved Johan Santana' no-hitter and missed nine weeks.
Manager Terry Collins did not expect anything quite so dramatic when he slotted Baxter leadoff for Wednesday's game against the Reds. But he did hope that Baxter's presence would spark the Mets' sluggish offense, while simultaneously breaking up their left-handed bats.
"If you go back before Mike got hurt, he was leading off," Collins said. "We played pretty stinking good, so I'm giving him another shot."
Baxter's presence atop the lineup also allowed Collins to shift shortstop Ruben Tejada to the two hole, which he considers Tejada's ideal slot. Baxter entered the day with a .422 on-base percentage in 89 at-bats, tops on the team.