The Aaron Laffey era will continue for the foreseeable future.
Prior to yesterday’s 4-3 win over the Marlins, manager Terry Collins said there is no timetable for starter Shaun Marcum’s season debut. Marcum has been battling a shoulder impingement and neck discomfort dating back to the last week of March.
“We don’t know. It’s hard to say,” Collins said. “If Shaun comes back pretty fast I would think it’s a couple weeks, so you’re looking at maybe two to three starts.”
Laffey was pulled after 4 1/3 innings Sunday after being pounded for 10 hits and three earned runs. Unless he gets sent down, Laffey should start in the interleague series against the Twins at Target Field this weekend.
By Collins’s own admission, the Mets outfield-by-committee is not ideal. In an idyllic scenario, the manager would have a unit he could pencil in for at least 120 games.
What he has is flexibility.
“In a perfect world, you’d like to have your three guys out there and give them days off. But right now we’re going to mix and match. It keeps everybody sharp. It keeps everybody ready when they come to the ballpark. I don’t think it’s a major factor,” Collins said. “Next week, we’re going to have to have a DH, so most likely one of those guys is going to DH, which is going to get someone else in the lineup. Right now, it’s an easy way to figure out who we want to play and know that we got some guys on the bench who are ready to come off with a quality at-bat.”
Every Met outfielder has played during the season-opening homestand. Collins has had an outfielder lead off every game. Colin Cowgill has led off four times, including Sunday’s finale, while Jordany Valdespin and Mike Baxter each batted lead-off for one game.
“When we used Mike Baxter it was because 50-50 he walks. He gets on base. He’s willing to work the count. He’s willing to see pitches. And that helps a lot to the other guys in the lineup,” Collins said. “In Jordany’s case, if you give him a first pitch fastball, it’s going to be 1-0.
“Same thing with Colin. Colin is very dangerous up there. They can both steal bases. Mike’s not necessarily the prototypical base stealer but he’s a good baserunner. They get themselves in scoring position. So when you write the whole picture of who’s playing, we know who’s hitting third, who’s hitting fourth, who’s hitting second. All of a sudden, you say, ‘Hey, which one of these guys is left over who is a comparable leadoff guy?’ That’s how we’ve come up with some of those [batting orders].”
The Mets begin a 10-game road trip tonight in Philadelphia. Matt Harvey (1-0, 0.00 ERA) and Roy Halladay (0-1, 13.50) are the scheduled starters.
Follow Mets beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.