By Ed Coleman
» More Columns

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Trying to find outfielders who can produce some numbers for the Mets this season seemed to be a perplexing situation for manager Terry Collins.  But when Marlon Byrd arrived at camp on Friday, Collins sounded like he had already found an answer to one of his problems.

For Byrd’s part, he simply said the opportunities presented by the Mets’ training camp made the most sense.

Byrd played for the Cubs and Red Sox last year, but had his season cut short after testing positive for a banned substance and serving a 50-game suspension.  He accepted full responsibility for it when asked on Friday.

Byrd played in the Mexican League, hitting .318 with 16 HR and 46 RBI in 220 AB. His team just won the Caribbean Series.  Collins contends that Byrd is hungry and has something to prove.

Collins also suggested that there may be a platoon in centerfield with lefty Kirk Nieuwenhuis and righty Collin Cowgill, who has impressed the manager with his work ethic.

Collins likes his pitching staff and thinks that the innings that R.A. Dickey supplied can be made up by the present rotation.

As Johan Santana tries to return to form and Matt Harvey continues to mature, the manager is confident that the other lefty starter, Jon Niese, is ready to take a big step forward this year.

As for Santana, it doesn’t appear that he will be pitching for his native Venezuela in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.  And there’s only one date that his manager is concerned about – Opening Day.

Do you think the Mets will be able to make up the innings gap that R.A. Dickey left with their current staff? Let us know in the comments section below…

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