Wright open to hitting anywhere
Manuel switches order, sliding third baseman to No. 5 spot
ST. LOUIS -- In an attempt to jumpstart an offense that ranks 10th in the National League in runs scored, Mets manager Jerry Manuel shook up the lineup for Thursday's series finale against the Cardinals.
Most notably, Manuel switched the spots of David Wright and Carlos Beltran in the batting order, meaning that the hot-hitting Beltran is hitting third and Wright dropped to fifth.
Beltran leads the Mets with a .385 average entering Thursday and had three hits on Wednesday night against St. Louis in the No. 5 spot.
"As long as he's swinging as well as he's swinging, and if we feel like we are getting him to the plate often, then we will keep him there," Manuel said of Beltran. "He's swinging the bat extremely well, and I'd like to see him get at-bats as often as possible."
While Wright is hitting .302, he has been struggling at the plate as of late. But Manuel insisted that the switch was more because of Beltran's hot hitting and less because of Wright's recent woes.
He discussed the switch with both players before Thursday's game.
"David wants to win," Manuel said. "He wants to win -- bottom line. Whatever I feel is necessary to win, he's on board with. He'll hit ninth if he has to. He has no problem with it."
Said Wright, "We need a few things right now. We need to score some more runs and prohibit them from scoring so many runs. Jerry's the manager, and I'll hit wherever he tells me to hit."
In addition to the flip, Manuel inserted three new faces into his lineup on Thursday. Gary Sheffield got the start in left, Alex Cora at second and Omir Santos behind the plate.
"The bottom line is winning," Manuel said. "If you make these changes, you make these changes to win.
"Hopefully we can put a lot of runs on the board. I'd like to see guys put up some quality at-bats. It's a little different look."
The Mets will face a left-handed starter for the first time all season on Friday in Washington, meaning that the lineup will again have a different look. Manuel said Sheffield will play again on Friday and that he will find a spot for Fernando Tatis, who is hitless in seven at bats on the year.
B.J. Rains is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.