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9/3/2014 12:25 A.M. ET

Mets helping Lagares steal more bases

MIAMI -- Juan Lagares aspires to become a legitimate leadoff hitter, and the Mets hope to make him one. With that in mind, the team has recently been encouraging Lagares to steal more bases.

With manager Terry Collins and his staff dictating high-percentage opportunities for Lagares from the bench, the outfielder swiped his fourth and fifth bags in five games in Tuesday's 8-6 win over the Marlins. He had attempted just seven steals in 98 previous games, coming away successful on four of them.

"We're not letting him choose his own spots," Collins said. "We're trying to choose the spots for him where we're anticipating breaking balls, we're anticipating other things that go along with what we think the count will dictate as far as what the pitcher's going to do. I'd like to get his lead a little bigger, but I think his starts are pretty good."

Collins did say that ultimately, Lagares' on-base abilities will far outweigh his stolen base potential when the Mets begin deciding who will lead off for them next summer. But baserunning prowess is a nice bonus, and Collins feels strongly that the Mets merely need to unlock the abilities that their center fielder already possesses.

"I think you can teach a lot of it for basestealers," Collins said. "You can teach the lead and you can teach the start. Can you teach the courage? I don't know. Some guys just don't like to get thrown out. You can't worry about being picked off. But I think Juan's the kind of guy, because of his work ethic and the way he goes about things, he's going to learn it."

As a center fielder, Collins continued, Lagares must be quick with his first step and reach top speed as quickly as possible -- particularly considering the aggressiveness with which he plays the position.

Lagares noted that he shied away from stealing bases earlier this season because his hamstrings were not completely healthy. Now that they are, he is taking more risks.

"It's very important when you can steal bases," said the outfielder, who has hit first in 28 of his 92 starts this season. "That's what it's all about, [batting] leadoff, getting on base, try to steal a base and get in scoring position for the guys behind you to drive in a lot of runs. I think that's very important."


Dice-K, Edgin target weekend return to bullpen

MIAMI -- Ailing Mets relievers Daisuke Matsuzaka and Josh Edgin both received cortisone injections in their pitching elbows, according to manager Terry Collins, putting them on track to rejoin the team this weekend in Cincinnati.

Collins was unaware of the exact malady affecting Matsuzaka, who had trouble warming up last weekend at Citi Field and has not pitched since. But the issue was severe enough for doctors to administer a dose of cortisone.

"They're not very excited about injecting elbows, because it softens the ligaments," Collins said.

Edgin, who has not pitched since Aug. 23 due to right elbow tendinitis, also received an injection in New York. The Mets recalled right-hander Erik Goeddel and lefty Dario Alvarez from the Minors earlier this week to insulate their bullpen while those two recover.

Edgin in particular has developed into a cog in New York's bullpen, posting a 1.40 ERA in 41 appearances.

Worth noting

• The Mets promoted outfielder and first-round Draft pick Michael Conforto, along with and infielders Amed Rosario and Jhoan Urena, from Class A Short-Season Brooklyn to Class A Savannah, so that they can participate in the South Atlantic League playoffs. Conforto and Rosario are the team's fourth- and seventh-ranked prospects, respectively.

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.


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