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Mets willing to protect Wright at the plate

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NEW YORK -- When it comes to the slumping David Wright -- whose .128 (5-for-39) average this month entering Friday has brought his season mark down to .270 from .294 -- Terry Collins is aware that yes, teams are pitching him inside.

But if opposing hurlers start to throw too inside, too regularly, Collins isn't afraid to give it back a little.

"Are we retaliating? Ask Ryan Braun how many times he got backed off," Collins said. "We did hit two guys [Rickie Weeks and Aramis Ramirez] yesterday, if I'm not mistaken. We aren't going to get in a war. They're not throwing things under David's hat. If I start seeing David going on his butt, there will be some answers to it."

Collins' comments came in response to Mets' injured ace Matt Harvey saying he wished he could protect Wright when the Mets' captain gets pitched up and in.

"It's hard for me to watch David keep getting pushed back," Harvey told the New York Daily News. "I'm not happy about it. It's not right how guys are being able to manipulate his entire at-bat by pitching him up and in.

"It's tough for him. He's had to adapt to a different style. And it's frustrating to watch from the sidelines and not be able to do something about it."

Brushing a hitter back is a common technique to make him more wary or hesitant, and in turn make it more difficult to get to pitches on the outer edge of the plate. Sometimes, though, tempers flare if a team's star hitter gets hit by a pitch. That's what Collins wants to avoid.

"But we protect David as best we can," Collins said. "Once in a while, we do it to all the big guys. We've done it to Jayson Werth for I don't know how long. You have to be careful of starting a war, because the one thing is if you start a war, there's going to be one guy who pays the price for it all."

Tim Healey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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