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8/19/2014 10:16 P.M. ET

Collins tinkers with lineup, bats Lagares leadoff

OAKLAND -- Seeking to jump-start an offense that came into Tuesday's play with 16 hits in its previous four games, Mets manager Terry Collins drew up one of his most unorthodox lineups of the season against the A's.

Juan Lagares led off. Curtis Granderson batted second for the 10th time this season. Daniel Murphy sat on the bench and Travis d'Arnaud served as the designated hitter.

"We just thought we'd change it up a little," Collins said. "It's not like we're mashing right now."

Mostly, the unorthodox revolved around Murphy, whom Collins wanted to rest given his current funk -- just three hits in his last 24 at-bats. That left the team needing a No. 2 hitter, prompting Granderson to slide down from the leadoff spot and Lagares to fill Granderson's normal role.

"Murphy needed a blow," Collins said. "You can start to see when Dan's swing gets a little long, he's out of gas, because he knows how to hit. He doesn't go through these long stretches where he's not swinging good. What it is is because he's tired."

deGrom throws to hitters, intends to start Saturday

OAKLAND -- In what he called "a nice step" toward returning from the right rotator cuff tendinitis that has sidelined him since Aug. 8, Jacob deGrom faced live hitters in a bullpen session Tuesday with the intention of coming back from the disabled list for Saturday's game against the Dodgers.

"I'm fully expecting that I'm fine," deGrom said. "I plan to pitch to the end of the year."

That assumes both that deGrom will not experience any lingering effects in his right shoulder, and that he will not surpass the innings limit of approximately 185 that the Mets have set for him.

Regarding the former issue, deGrom said he threw "with no problems" Tuesday and fully intends to start this weekend.

"I'm ready to get out there," said deGrom, who threw his complete repertoire in the session. "We don't want to rush it, but everything's going to plan right now. I'm just doing what they tell me."

Regarding the innings limit, deGrom's two-week DL stint likely ensured that he will last until the end of the season. The right-hander is currently at 138 2/3 innings with a maximum of seven starts remaining. If he makes all of them and averages seven innings per start, deGrom will finish just barely over the limit.

The Mets, of course, will take every precaution with deGrom, who has entrenched himself in their future plans by going 6-5 with a 2.87 ERA over his first 16 career starts. That is why a half-dozen members of the organization's coaching and training staffs, led by pitching coach Dan Warthen, were out late Tuesday afternoon to watch him face batters.

"There was definitely more adrenaline than when I throw just in a regular bullpen," deGrom said. "When somebody steps in there, the competitiveness kind of takes over, so it was nice to throw to hitters."

Worth noting

• The Mets are still drawing up a plan for Bartolo Colon's return to the rotation, after Colon flew to the Dominican Republic to be with his mother, Adriana, who passed away Monday. The team sent out a statement Tuesday saying that its "thoughts and prayers are with the Colon family." The Mets officially placed him on the bereavement list prior to the game, recalling reliever Gonzalez Germen from Triple-A Las Vegas.

• Outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis is nursing a stiff neck and was "pretty sore" on Tuesday, according to Collins. Nieuwenhuis said the team's cross-country plane ride was the culprit.

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.