TC: 'Sparkplug' E.Y. Jr. merits more play

NEW YORK -- Terry Collins has always advocated Eric Young Jr. being in the lineup, including repeatedly touting during spring training his qualifications to be the leadoff hitter.

Since Juan Lagares has returned from the DL on May 1, however, Young has been relegated to the bench. In fact, Sunday marked only Young’s second start this month.

E.Y. Jr. made the most of it.

Eric Young Jr.

Eric Young Jr.

#22 LF
New York Mets

2014 STATS

  • GM32
  • HR0

  • RBI4

  • R23

  • OBP.325

  • AVG.234

Young manufactured a run in the first inning after singling, stealing second and advancing to third base on an E-2. He finished 3-for-6 with two runs scored and afterward had Collins pledging more playing time.

Sunday’s start came because Curtis Granderson was given a day off.

The Mets are 15-11 with Young in the starting lineup and 2-8 otherwise, despite E.Y. Jr. hitting only .234 and having a .325 OBP.

“He is a sparkplug, and we’ve got to figure out how to get him in there more,” Collins said after Sunday’s 5-4, 11-inning win against the Philadelphia Phillies. “He does what he does. I mean, the energy he creates not only on the bases -- you hear it in the stands. He’s an energy guy. When you play with high energy, people catch on to it. I’ve got to do a better job of getting him in there.”

So will E.Y. Jr. play during the upcoming four-game Yankees series that’s split between the two ballparks?

“I’m going to try,” Collins said.

Still, Collins has other priorities, too. Asked if he might get E.Y. Jr. into the lineup by using the DH in the Bronx for one of his top four outfielders (E.Y., Granderson, Lagares and Chris Young), Collins suggested Bobby Abreu was likely to DH against right-hander Hiroki Kuroda on Monday.

“I probably am going to get Bobby in there somehow,” Collins said.

The Mets are facing a lefty, Vidal Nuno, on Tuesday, which might provide an opportunity for the four primary outfielders all to start, though.