By Ed Coleman
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The Mets’ second base derby continues to be a cloudy issue, with none of the participants exactly breaking away from the pack with 2 1/2 weeks to go before Opening Day. Manager Terry Collins was asked Tuesday to analyze where things stood in the competition.

There was a published report on Tuesday suggesting that the other Luis — Hernandez — would be named the Mets 2B when all was said and done. Collins labeled that premature, and continued to talk up the elder Luis — Castillo.

Collins has talked often about how 2B is becoming more and more an offensive position. But when pressed, he still appreciates the significance of defense there.

It’s no secret that Castillo and his fellow outcast Oliver Perez are no fan favorites, and their inclusion on the team would be met rather rudely by most Met fans – but Collins says he can’t concern himself with outside pressures.

Finally, I asked the manager whether not having Carlos Beltran in RF at the beginning of the season or for any extended length of time could impact the 2B decision, he replied.

As for Castillo, he’s experiencing something he’s never gone through – fighting for a job.

And he’s told Collins on more than one occasion – just give me the chance to play.

Jenrry Mejia will do his playing and pitching in minor league camp. Mejia – after throwing a 60-pitch bullpen – was sent down prior to Tuesday night’s game. Carlos Beltran has been cleared to resume baseball activities – he will be limited basically to hitting, no running for the moment, as his left knee tendinitis slowly clears.

In the only night game on the Mets spring schedule, they downed the Nationals 5-2 in Port St. Lucie. Chris Young went 5 1/3 innings, allowing one run on four hits – his ERA is down to 1.88. Young worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the 2nd, giving up his only run, and found the exercise useful.

Oliver Perez relieved Young in the 6th, faced three lefty batters, walking the first and then getting the next two outs. Perez will be off the next two days, then pitch back-to-back on Friday and Saturday. Pedro Beato, Blaine Boyer and Frankie Rodriguez – again – pitched scoreless relief.

Ike Davis was the hitting star, going 2-3 with 3 RBI. David Wright has picked it up – two more hits plus a walk – he’s almost to the Mendoza line, batting .182. Speaking of that, Jose Reyes had an 0-3 night, he’s struggling at .148.

The Mets will embark on a spring road trip for two days to Fort Myers, playing the Twins on Wednesday and the Red Sox on Thursday. 24 players will make the 3 hour one-way trip on Wednesday, with 8 regulars and pitchers returning that night. Another bus leaves Thursday morning with additional players to join those who stay overnight. Mike Pelfrey will face Minnesota – Jonathan Niese goes against the Red Sox.

And if the 2nd base situation isn’t confusing enough for you, here’s Terry Collins’ parting remarks after the game about the 4 + 1 scenario.

Good luck boys.

C U soon
Eddie C.

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