Mets happy to be ‘in the hunt’ at break

David Wright and the Mets closed out the first half in disappointing fashion, but they still have high hopes.

Others were focused on long term, but Mets manager Terry Collins was focused on the here and now.

“It’s July 8 — [the end of the regular season] is too far away,” Collins said yesterday when asked if the Mets would consider their 2012 regular season a success if they missed the playoffs by a few games after three consecutive years of finishing well under .500.

“Besides, I don’t know how I’d feel on Oct. 3. I know right now we’re in the hunt.”

That is an undisputable fact.

The Mets find themselves with a 46-40 record at the All-Star Break after their somnambulant 7-0 loss to the Cubs in the first half finale yesterday. Despite the loss, the Mets are third in the NL East — percentage points behind Atlanta in both the division and wild-card standings.

“We’re very happy where we are right now,” Collins said.

When the Mets begin a stretch of 76 games in 84 days Friday night in Atlanta, the onus will be on general manager Sandy Alderson to bolster an offense that ranks 12th in the National League in home runs and dead last with a 4.94 bullpen ERA.

There is speculation that Diamondbacks right fielder Justin Upton and Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino will be available for the right price. But both would be costly in terms of prospects.

“The asking price sometimes isn’t going to be good. You’re not going to sacrifice the future for a piece for a month,” Collins said.

For now the Mets are looking inward. They need to get bigger contributions out of Ike Davis, Lucas Duda and a returning Jason Bay.

“I still believe, offensively, Ike is going to have a big second half. Lucas, last year had a big second half. Hope he has another one,” Collins said. “As we get into this, we have to start hitting throughout [the lineup].”

Bay has played in only 22 games due to a fractured left rib and a concussion. He was hitting just .187 with four home runs and six RBI in 75 at-bats. Signed to a $66-million free agent contract in Dec. 2009, Bay has hit .246 with 22 home runs and 110 RBI in 240 games spanning two-and-a-half seasons.

“We’ll get Jason Bay coming back,” Collins said. “[People talk] about a right-handed bat. We have a right-handed bat. We just have to get him back and get him going.”

Follow Mets beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter


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