New York Mets
Collins said he likes to defer to veterans, and the manager described Niese as the "ace of the staff." Collins mentioned Dillon Gee as an alternative.
Niese made his first career Opening Day start last season.
• Collins, speaking on the team's television network, said he hopes to guard against another slow start for Ike Davis by getting him 80 to 100 at-bats during spring training, whereas the normal player gets 50 to 60 ABs. For whatever it's worth, Davis got 55 at-bats last Grapefruit League season and then opened the regular season with a .147 average through May 22.
Chris Young, despite historical struggles against right-handed pitching, should begin the season in an everyday role. So if Duda is getting that much playing time, it almost assuredly means Juan Lagares is a non-starter, and potentially even at Triple-A Las Vegas.
• Collins reiterated what he told ESPNNewYork.com earlier Thursday: Eric Young Jr. is his clear preference as a leadoff hitter. Again, that likely requires severely diminished time for Lagares, with Chris Young taking the center-field job. "This guy was an All-Star center fielder three years ago," Collins said about the ex-Diamondback and Athletic.
• Collins again stated that Granderson is due to bat behind David Wright, presumably as the Nos. 3 and 4 hitters. Collins feels teams stopped pitching to Wright during the second half of last season (although that mostly was with Marlon Byrd batting behind Wright).