MLB.com Columnist

Barry M. Bloom

Collins dealt tough hand with depleted roster

Mets manager clearly frustrated as Murphy heads to DL

Collins dealt tough hand with depleted roster

PHOENIX -- Mets manager Terry Collins was not in much of a good mood prior to Friday night's game against the D-backs at Chase Field.

"Oh, I'm feeling great," Collins sarcastically told a full media audience settled into his office. "I've had a really nice day. Yeah, I'm having a great day!"

It wouldn't get much better. The Mets lost, 7-2, dropping out of first place in the National League East with the Nationals, who beat the Cubs in Washington.

By Collins' tone and demeanor, anyone would have thought that the Mets were in their accustomed early June berth of last place with a miserable last four months of the season ahead of them. But this time their record's perched at 30-26.

Still, Collins had a right to be perturbed. Starting third baseman, Daniel Murphy, had just been placed on the disabled list with a left quad strain. Collins said his sense of how serious the injury is comes "only from the doctors," but he's heard it all before.

"It's not real serious, but David [Wright's] hamstring wasn't real serious, either," said Collins, referring to his All-Star third baseman, who has been out since April 15.

Catcher Kevin Plawecki had gone to the doctor because of what Collins feared was a resurgence of vertigo that plagued him last year. Plawecki felt dizzy on Thursday night when he caught Matt Harvey in a 6-2 Mets win. Eric Campbell, who replaced Murphy at third base, was also Friday night's backup catcher to Anthony Recker.

"If Anthony Recker gets hurt, that'll be a story," Collins said. "That is one big man."

Plawecki turned out to have a viral infection and was given some medication, Collins said after the game. He should be available on Saturday night, which is a least a shred of good news.

"We'll adapt," Collins said. "The three A's, adapt, adjust and improvise."

But that wasn't it for the pregame.

All the talk of nursing Harvey back from Tommy John surgery in a six-man rotation seemed to have been overturned by upper management. When asked why that concept had been so short-lived, Collins said:

"I can't answer that."

Asked if it was his decision, he responded: "It ultimately will be my decision, yeah."

"I've had my fill of this rotation stuff, I can tell you that. I may go to a two-man," Collins said. "That's why I'm not going there. I'm just saying we're taking a look at some things. I'm just tired of answering the questions so we may go back to being traditional. I'm tired of answering it from everyone. My wife wants to know whose pitching."

Collins would go as far as to say a decision had been made about Harvey, who could pitch next Wednesday at home against the Giants and have six days rest because of Monday's off-day.

"I have decided," Collins said. "I'm not saying anything right now, but I have decided."

There isn't any innings restriction on Harvey, is there?

"There isn't? I'd have to say we're going to be careful with him. That's why we went to a six-man -- originally," Collins said.

Harvey's strong outing

Keep in mind that, previously, the Mets had already lost Wright with a right hamstring strain that has turned into a back issue, Zach Wheeler to Tommy John surgery, Travis d'Arnaud, whose little finger on his right hand was fractured by a pitch -- the list goes on and on. The Mets currently have 11 players on the disabled list and closer Jenry Mejia serving an 80-game drug suspension.

Collins said he's never experienced anything like it in his long career as a coach and manager in the Major Leagues.

"In the Minor Leagues, but not in the big leagues," he said. "I had to activate myself one year in the Minor Leagues. In Albuquerque, me and my pitching coach, in between games of a double-header."

Did you play?

"Unfortunately, yes," he responded. "That's the last time I've been through something like this."

But that wasn't it for the Collins gems. Somehow talk turned to next week's Draft. What's essentially the organization's philosophy? Do the Mets draft the best talent or draft for need?

"Oh, I have no idea," Collins said. "You know, I've stayed out of scouting. I went on a scouting trip my second year as a Minor League manager. I went on a trip with a scout and he took me to the game. I said, 'Who are you watching?' He said, 'You tell me.' And I was so far off, I said, 'Ok, I don't want to ever do this job.'"

There were moments before the game on Friday night when Collins seemed like he wasn't too thrilled about his current job, either.

When told that he was in vintage form, Collins said: "Yeah, I'm [really] happy."

We could tell.

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.