NEW YORK -- The Mets had an opportunity Thursday to do something they did not do through all of last season: use the same starting lineup three games in a row.
Instead, manager Terry Collins chose to rest second baseman Daniel Murphy in favor of Justin Turner, who batted second. Collins' gamble paid off, as Turner went 3-for-4 with a stolen base in the Mets' 2-1 loss to the Padres.
Collins said the off day had nothing to do with the midsection injury that sidelined Murphy until the final week of Spring Training, and everything to do with giving the right-handed Turner some playing time against Padres lefty Eric Stults.
"We've got a whole weekend of right-handed pitching coming up," Collins said, referring to Marlins pitchers Alex Sanabia, Ricky Nolasco and Jose Fernandez, "so I thought today would be a good day to get Justin in there."
As Collins proved last year, the manager considers a fresh bench more important than a steady starting lineup. To that end, Collins plans to give reserves Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Mike Baxter and Jordany Valdespin one start apiece this weekend, presumably resting each of his regular outfielders in those games.
As for Murphy, the Mets are not worried that this week's chilly April weather will affect his right intercostal muscle, which kept him sidelined for a month's worth of Grapefruit League games. Same goes for third baseman David Wright, who missed two weeks this spring with a strained left intercostal. Wright was back in the lineup for a third straight game Thursday, though Collins said he would look to give him a day off next week.
"You're talking about two guys that have an idea of what it means to miss time, and the one thing they don't want to do is miss time," Collins said. "So they're pretty honest about how they're feeling."
Marcum sidelined with nerve inflammation
NEW YORK -- Right-hander Shaun Marcum has been shut down for 48 hours after receiving injections to relieve nerve inflammation in his neck, the Mets announced Thursday, keeping his immediate future in limbo.
An MRI administered earlier Thursday revealed the nerve inflammation, which forced Marcum off the mound earlier this week in Port St. Lucie, Fla. The right-hander received trigger-point injections to relieve his pain and will rest for the next two days.
The Mets officially classified Marcum as "day-to-day," but it is clear that he will not return to active duty any time soon. Marcum has not appeared in an official game in nearly three weeks, and even if he is healthy, he will need time to regain his regular arm strength.
In the interim, the Mets will proceed with a patchwork rotation. Left-hander Aaron Laffey is unofficially scheduled to start Sunday against the Marlins, and manager Terry Collins said Laffey could remain in the rotation if he pitches well.
The Mets guaranteed Marcum $4 million when they signed him this winter to a Major League deal. Marcum's contract also includes $2 million worth of incentives, most of them based upon how often he pitches. The right-hander, who has a long history of right elbow and shoulder trouble, has dealt with varying levels of arm and neck pain since March.
Harvey: 'A jacket doesn't belong on a baseball field'
NEW YORK -- Let Matt Harvey make one thing clear: "In my mind," Harvey said after shutting down the Padres in frigid weather Wednesday, "a jacket doesn't belong on a baseball field."
When Harvey singled to reach base safely in the second inning, Mets staffers tried to run a jacket out to him at the bag. But Harvey, despite wearing short sleeves at cold, windy Citi Field, rejected the offer.
"I'm shocked they don't in the cold weather," manager Terry Collins said of his pitchers not wanting to wear jackets. "But when Matt got on [base], we took the jacket out, and he said he didn't want it. That's his choice."
Most pitchers would likely choose otherwise. But Harvey, who was born and raised in eastern Connecticut, says he pitches in three-quarter-length sleeves regardless of the conditions and always, always shuns jackets.
If that's what makes him tick, the Mets certainly do not want him to change. In fanning 10 batters over seven innings Thursday against the Padres, Harvey recorded his third double-digit strikeout game in his first 11 career starts. That tied Nolan Ryan and Jerry Koosman for the second-most in franchise history through 11 starts, one behind Dwight Gooden.
So keep those jackets away.
"I wasn't concerned about him until we had the real long inning, until we were sitting in the dugout," Collins said. "Matt was fine. He told me he was fine. But after I took him out I said, 'How'd you do?' And he said he was freezing."