NEW YORK -- Mets manager Terry Collins has experimented with his leadoff spot all season long. He's tried different types of hitters, but the constant tinkering hasn't led to a definitive long-term answer.
But all of that would be solved if Ruben Tejada returned to being the type of hitter he was last season.
The Mets' shortstop was a line-drive hitter for the Mets in 2012, an ideal fit at the top of New York's lineup. This season, he's been hitting too many fly balls, subsequently losing his role as the Mets' leadoff hitter. Of his last 15 outs entering Tuesday, 12 of them were on fly balls.
The Mets want Tejada to start hitting liners or to start keeping the ball on the ground before he gets his role as the leadoff man back.
"If he was giving us the at-bats that we saw last year, he is the leadoff hitter," Collins said. "The guy that even with two strikes just battles the pitcher."
Collins said Tejada's still swinging with two strikes, but he's not fouling off tough pitches. He's hitting them in the air instead. Collins said Tejada's swing hasn't become too big, he's just getting underneath the baseball.
Tejada, who was hitting .213, was out early Tuesday working with hitting coach Dave Hudgens on trying to stay above the baseball.
Until Tejada gets back to doing that consistently, the top of the Mets' lineup will remain in flux.
"There's some things you've got to do to work to your strengths, and Ruben's is hitting line drives," Collins said. "Fly balls, they're great once in a while, when you hit one in the gap, but he's got to start being that line-drive guy that we know."
Wright focused on trying to not do too much
NEW YORK -- Above him, the lineup card has changed almost nightly. The Mets have received almost no production out of their leadoff hitters this season and have gone long stretches without production from the two-hole as well.
Through it all, third hitter David Wright has tried to not do more than he is capable.
"For me, it's a constant battle to not do that," Wright said. "It's in my nature that you want to be a difference-maker. You think to yourself, 'OK, a single right here is not going to do anything. I've got to hit a home run, I've got to hit a double, I've got to do something.' And that's not my game. I can't go up there with that mentality, because that's when I start trying to do too much, and it has the reverse effect."
Wright said he is "still learning" how to avoid that do-everything mindset, though his statistics suggest he has managed just fine. Despite little protection in the lineup, Wright entered Tuesday's play batting .309 with six home runs and 28 RBIs, numbers typical of the six-time All-Star.
Perhaps more telling, he is swinging at less than a quarter of pitches outside the strike zone, similar to his usual rate. And he is walking in more than 15 percent of his plate appearances, a career high.
Wright said he tries "not to concern himself" with the quality of pitches he is receiving in his at-bats, though he did not deny the assertion that pitchers are offering him fewer strikes than ever. Better protection from Ike Davis or Lucas Duda could change that trend and boost Wright's numbers, but he understands he must settle for what he can in the interim.
"I have to be willing to take a walk," Wright said. "When I start trying to chase pitches out of the zone, trying to do too much, that's when I struggle. And that's not the type of example you want to set."
Strawberry, McPhail to rep Mets at Draft
NEW YORK -- Darryl Strawberry and Marlin McPhail will represent the Mets at next month's First-Year Player Draft, Major League Baseball announced Tuesday.
Strawberry, the No. 1 overall pick in the 1980 Draft, will join McPhail at Draft headquarters in Secaucus, N.J., where the Mets are slated to pick 11th overall. McPhail also knows a thing or two about Drafts, having scouted first-round pick Matt Harvey three years ago.
The 2013 First-Year Player Draft will take place on June 6-8, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB.com and MLB Network on Thursday, June 6, at 6 p.m. ET. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network's Studio 42 begins at 7 p.m., with the top 73 picks being streamed on MLB.com and broadcast on MLB Network. Rounds 3-10 will be streamed live on MLB.com on June 7, beginning with a preview show at 12:30 p.m., and Rounds 11-40 will be streamed live on MLB.com on June 8, starting at 1 p.m.
MLB.com's coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 100 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of Draft-eligible players. You can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft on Twitter. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.
• The Mets and New York Cares on Tuesday announced the launch of the Mets Volunteer Challenge, providing fans with a way to participate in community service activities while rewarding them with tickets and ballpark experiences. Fans can sign up for the program at mets.com/volunteer.
• For Matt Harvey's next start on Wednesday, the Mets are offering $45 baseline box tickets that come with a special Harvey T-shirt. Details are available at mets.com/tickets.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. Chris Iseman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.