Terry Collins serious about regularly batting pitcher eighth

VIERA, Fla. -- New York Mets manager Terry Collins batted the pitcher in the No. 8 slot on 10 different occasions last season, matching the Atlanta Braves for the most in the majors. If Collins likes the look when he tests it Friday, as well as during the final week of spring training, the manager indicated he may use the alignment far more frequently during the upcoming season.

In that scenario, Curtis Granderson would lead off, followed by David Wright batting second and Lucas Duda third, with Juan Lagares in the No. 9 slot.

Wright has batted second only 15 times in his career, and only once since 2007.

Collins reasoned that the No. 3 hitter comes up more frequently with two outs and the bases empty than any other spot in the lineup. So continuing to place Wright in the No. 3 slot might not make the most sense, Collins suggested. Having Duda in that spot, where he is a threat for a home run even with no one on base, may be smarter, according to the manager.

Of course, the second time through the lineup, Wright still would be batting third after the pitcher. So he may face the same frequency of batting with two outs and none on anyway.

The alternative is to have Lagares leading off. And Collins said Lagares' strong spring training is making it difficult to discount him as the leadoff hitter.

Lagares entered Thursday's Grapefruit League game against the Washington Nationals in Jupiter hitting .395 with two homers, five RBIs and a .447 on-base percentage. Collins said Lagares, who has eight strikeouts in 43 at-bats, is not missing pitches.

"I haven't seen him ever swing the bat this good," Collins said.