Mets dabble with pitcher at No. 8

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Sandy Alderson asked Terry Collins during the winter if the manager had ever considered batting the pitcher No. 8, as a way to have more men on base when No. 3 hitter David Wright comes up subsequent times through the order.

Collins said he had been thinking about that as well, as long as the Mets had a bona fide No. 9 hitter with leadoff qualities.

With Juan Lagares possessing speed, Collins decided to test out the look for Thursday's Grapefruit League game. Collins likely will use it at points during the season, too.

Collins told the No. 9 hitter Lagares on Thursday not to be upset, and instead consider himself the leadoff hitter the second time through the order, with Wright essentially the cleanup hitter after the first turn.

The St. Louis Cardinals used the pitcher in the No. 8 hole regularly under Tony La Russa.

The Mets have never had a pitcher start a game as a No. 8 hitter.

The Rays and Yankees each did it once last season.