06/26/12 9:20 PM ET
Collins confident Murphy is coming out of slump
By Rowan Kavner / MLB.com
Murphy has just three hits in his last 26 at-bats and still has no home runs this season. He came off the bench in three of his last four games and didn't play in Monday's series opener against the Cubs.
"Right now, he's going outside the strike zone a little bit, where he's swinging at some pitches he has no chance to hit out of the ballpark," Collins said. "When he's swinging good, he's a good enough hitter where eventually he'll hit some homers."
He said when Murphy is swinging to his maximum capability, he hits all types of pitchers and completely changes the Mets lineup.
With a trip to play the Dodgers on the horizon, Collins said Murphy may play against left-hander Chris Capuano, but likely not Clayton Kershaw.
"I'm not sure Kershaw's a fair match with his breaking ball," Collins said. "But it might take [Capuano's] changeup away a little bit."
Looking strong, Johan on pace for at least 30 starts
CHICAGO -- Johan Santana is on pace to make at least 30 starts for the first time since 2008, when he made 34.
Santana has a 3.00 ERA in 15 starts this season and has allowed just two runs in his last two starts.
"My conscience is pretty clear we can ride him," manager Terry Collins said. "Like I said in Spring Training, if we get 28 starts out of him, we're going to be a pretty good club. If we get 32 starts out of him, we are going to be a good club."
Santana followed his no-hitter on June 1 by allowing 10 runs in his next two outings. Collins said he's comforted that Santana left the no-hitter without any arm pain and has finally found his groove once again. He said he plans to use Santana as he would any other pitcher for the remainder of the season.
"I'm happy he got the no-hitter," Collins said. "As we continue down this road, he's going to throw up a lot of zeros, and he's only going to do that if he's healthy."
Collins plans to stick with a five-man rotation the rest of the year, barring any injuries or setbacks. He took Santana out for a pinch-hitter after six innings Monday, but said if his spot hadn't come around in the lineup, he would have left the starter in.
Mets find value in Quintanilla on the bench
CHICAGO -- The Mets depth chart is packed full of shortstops, as Omar Quintanilla stayed on the active roster even after Ruben Tejada returned from a right quadriceps strain.
Manager Terry Collins said he wanted Quintanilla in case Tejada had a setback. Collins said he likes Quintanilla's defense and bat off the bench, but might make a few adjustments after Tejada settles in.
Tejada said he is 100 percent healthy from the leg injury that forced him out for a month and a half. The shortstop left the game on May 6 against Arizona and returned June 24 against the Yankees, collecting two hits and two RBIs that night.
"It's really bad for anybody in that situation," Tejada said. "But everything happened and you have to keep working hard and stay concentrated and come back and try to help the team."
Tejada was hitting .421 with six runs in his last nine games before going to the disabled list.
Collins said it's too early to put a timetable on the return of Jason Bay, who is just beginning his exercise on a bicycle.
David Wright entered Tuesday on a 15-game hitting streak, marking the longest current streak in the Majors. He also leads the league with a .358 batting average.
Lucas Duda snapped his streak of reaching base at 25 games Monday. He also saw his seven-game hitting streak come to an end.
Rowan Kavner is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.