Johnson, Uribe join Mets, Collins says hot hitters will play
NEW YORK (AP) Infielders Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe joined the New York Mets on Saturday, and manager Terry Collins made it clear that anyone who hits will remain in the lineup.
”Whoever is swinging the bat is going to play,” Collins said before Saturday night’s game against the Dodgers. ”It’s about scoring some runs right now. The message has been sent, listen, we’ve got to start scoring.”
The Mets rank next-to-last in the majors in runs. They acquired Johnson, Uribe and cash from Atlanta on Friday night for minor league pitchers John Gant and Rob Whalen.
Johnson batted cleanup and played second base against Los Angeles. He got a hit in his first at-bat with the Mets, a single in a four-run first inning.
”If Juan is tearing it up, then he’s going to play. If Kelly’s tearing it up then we’re going to find a place for him to play,” Collins said. ”If somebody goes into a little bit of a slump, we’ve got the guy to replace him for a couple of days.”
Collins declined to get into specific spots for Uribe and Johnson, and would not specify if the roles of incumbent infielders Lucas Duda, Ruben Tejada, Daniel Murphy and Wilmer Flores would change.
”Day after day, we are going to put people out there that we think are the right guys,” Collins said. ”We have not scored, we have not hit. We went out and got two guys that we think can add some offense to us. I’m not going to leave them sitting on the bench.”
”If they’re going to give more offense than what we’ve got then we’re going to get them in there,” he said.
Uribe batting .272 with eight home runs and 23 RBIs, primarily playing third base. Johnson was batting .275 with nine home runs and 34 RBIs.
Johnson has played all over the diamond, logging innings at five different positions.
”It’s not one or two guys that can jump in and instantly transform anything,” Johnson said. ”Obviously we’ve both in the league a little while (and we’re) both swinging the bat pretty good this year, so that’s going to help.”
One night after completing the trade with Atlanta, Johnson became the eighth different player to bat cleanup for the Mets this year.