04/15/10 8:19 PM ET
Manuel itching to switch Reyes in order
Manager practicing patience while shortstop regains form
By Anthony DiComo / MLB.com
Though Manuel still wants to drop Reyes down to third in the batting order as soon as possible -- and that could still come as soon as this weekend in St. Louis -- Reyes is not quite ready for the assignment. And Manuel knows he must practice patience.
"I want to do it so badly, sometimes I get a little impatient," Manuel said. "So I have to be careful with that."
Through four games, Reyes said he still does not feel quite right offensively. And until that changes, Manuel will hesitate to place him in an unfamiliar spot.
"It's just getting him back into the flow of the baseball season," Manuel said. "I think he still feels relatively strong. It's just a matter of getting him his reps."
Reyes and Manuel spoke at length on the subject prior to Wednesday's game against the Rockies. And though Reyes is on board with the idea, he still feels limited in his comeback from a thyroid issue.
Manuel, meanwhile, is concentrating on the baseball aspects of the switch -- namely, ensuring that Reyes will not change his approach as a three hitter. To illustrate his point this spring, Manuel brought up the example of Hanley Ramirez, who successfully dropped from first to third in the Marlins lineup last year.
"I think they're different in the sense that Jose is probably a more explosive baserunner, and Hanley might be more of a power [hitter]," Manuel said. "But I do think just like [Hanley], he is capable, I feel Jose with his game is very capable."
Jeff Francoeur would like to see the shortstop remain atop the lineup.
"I don't want to see that," Francoeur said. "He's the most dynamic leadoff hitter in the game, and I want to see him there. Who knows what we'll do, but he's never really been a run producer. He's been more of a guy to score 150 runs. I want everybody to get hot and keep him right where he's at."
Manuel has definitive plans to drop Reyes down in the batting order soon, possibly as soon as this weekend in St. Louis. With slugger Carlos Beltran on the disabled list, Manuel is hoping to have Reyes make up for some of Beltran's run production.
Francoeur just doesn't see it.
"It could work, who knows?" he said. "I'm just saying he's the most dynamic leadoff hitter in the game. Jose Reyes has always hit leadoff, to me, for a reason. He's the best. He gets on base, steals, makes things happen."
Reyes, who was originally scheduled to take his first off-day of the season on Thursday, instead felt well enough to bat leadoff for the fifth straight game.
Work this spring paying off for Francoeur
DENVER -- During Spring Training, Mets manager Jerry Manuel subjected Jeff Francoeur to hours of hitting drills, first forcing him to swing at pitches well out of the strike zone, then asking him to swing only at pitches directly in his comfort zone.
The work appears to have helped. With a fourth-inning single on Thursday, Francoeur extended his season-opening hitting streak to nine games, the third-longest such streak in franchise history. Dating back to last season, Francoeur has hit in 12 straight games.
Now at .438 on the season, Francoeur is batting .324 overall since joining the Mets last July.
"I feel great," he said. "I don't know if I've felt this locked in in a long time."
Mejia puts walk-off homer in past
DENVER -- Those still worried about the maturity of Jenrry Mejia need look no further than the 20-year-old rookie's postgame comments Wednesday.
After serving up a walk-off homer to Chris Iannetta, becoming the youngest player to do so since Jose Rijo -- then 19 years old -- in 1984, Mejia insisted he had already pushed thoughts of the home run aside.
"Yeah I forget about that," Mejia said after the game. "That happened today. I can pitch tomorrow. I don't have to think about what happened today."
Iannetta's home run was the seventh Mejia has allowed in 170 1/3 professional innings. Four of those came during his first pro season, in 2008.
DENVER -- Mets manager Jerry Manuel said he would try to avoid using relievers Raul Valdes, who has pitched in three straight games, and Fernando Nieve, who has thrown in six of the team's first eight games, on Thursday. ... With a home run on Wednesday, David Wright improved his lifetime batting average and slugging percentage to .393 and .719 at Coors Field, his highest marks at any park in which he has at least 30 at-bats.
This date in Mets history -- April 15
An error by shortstop Al Weis in the bottom of the 25th inning on this date in 1968 allowed the only run in what, at the time, was the longest 1-0 game in history. The Mets lost to the Astros in the Astrodome in a mere 6 hours, 6 minutes. Tom Seaver pitched the first 10 innings, allowing two baserunners. Seven relievers followed, including losing pitcher Les Rohr. Each team had 11 hits and just one extra-base hit. Ron Swoboda and Tommie Agee were hitless in 10 at-bats each.
In 1972, Seaver (six innings) and Tug McGraw combined for a five-hit shutout of the Pirates on Opening Day at Shea. The victory was the third straight on Opening Day for a franchise that had lost each season opener from 1962 through 1969 ... Seven years later, the Mets lost a doubleheader to the Phillies at Shea, and manager Joe Torre said his day had been -- what else? -- "taxing."
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.