PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- When Mets manager Terry Collins asked Curtis Granderson if he would prefer to play left or right field this season, Granderson shrugged. When Collins asked the same question to Michael Cuddyer, he received the same response. So Collins plans to use each player at both positions this spring, giving himself the best possible platform to make a decision.
Yet, Collins already knows which way he is leaning. Lauding Granderson's work in right field last season, the manager said he will use Granderson there unless Cuddyer -- a career right fielder who has not played left since 2006, and who has spent just 0.3 percent of his big league innings there -- proves incapable of making the switch.
"He just played it very, very well," Collins said of Granderson's ability in right field, where he spent 89 percent of his innings last season.
In addition to having Granderson -- a better overall fielder -- play the more difficult position, that alignment allows Collins to keep his defense relatively static against left-handed pitchers. On many of those occasions, Cuddyer will shift to first base and Granderson can simply stay in right -- with John Mayberry Jr. slotting in left.
"I just think having one guy who's not necessarily comfortable is better than having two," Collins said. "When you walk out on that field, you've got to know what you're doing. You've got to be comfortable. And the minute you put them in those situations where they're most comfortable is when you're going to get the most production -- on both sides of the ball. Because they're at ease."
Cuddyer, who has been deaf in his left ear since childhood, said he should not have any trouble hearing center fielder Juan Lagares if he plays left field.
Anthony DiComo is the Mets beat reporter for MLB.com. He has been covering the team since 2010.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.