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TC: CY not benched; Soup is 'hot horse'

NEW YORK -- Terry Collins insisted that Eric Campbell starting in left field on Thursday is not the death knell to Chris Young being considered a regular starter.

C.Y. is hitting .128 (6-for-47) over his past 14 games. He now is hitting a paltry .206 with three homers and 11 RBIs in 102 at-bats this season.

The Mets had pledged during the offseason to give Young a chance as an everyday player, although that clearly is not panning out despite a one-year, $7.25 million investment.

Courtesy of New York Mets

Eric Campbell

Collins called it “a shot in the dark” to try to capitalize on Campbell’s hot bat against a formidable opposing pitcher in Zack Greinke. Young is a career 1-for-10 with two walks against Greinke.

Campbell is 7-for-16 with a homer and five RBIs in his brief major-league career.

“Today there may people who think putting Eric Campbell in left field is a panic move. It’s not. This guy is swinging the bat really, really good,” Collins said. “He’s going to face a pitcher that’s really, really good. I’m just riding that hot horse at the moment.”

Campbell is a natural third baseman, who also learned first base and the outfield in the minors. In his minor-league career, he has appeared in left field in 168 games and right field in 42 games. That is not that inferior to his career minor-league time at third base (194 games) and first base (227 games).

While Campbell learned outfield in the Mets system, he appeared there for “a few games” while at Boston College.

“I’ve probably played more outfield than I have infield [recently], just because of [Zach] Lutz playing third and the [glut of] first basemen,” Campbell said. “I’m comfortable.”

Collins said Triple-A manager Wally Backman vouched for Campbell’s outfield ability.

“I did a little homework first before I put him out there,” Collins said. “I called Wally, who has seen him the last two years, and said, ‘Am I taking a chance?’ He said, ‘Absolutely not.’ That’s a pretty good recommendation that he can play out there. Late in the game we may go with somebody else who is a little bit more comfortable.”