ST. LOUIS (AP) Mets manager Terry Collins is batting the pitcher eighth for the first time in franchise history in the town where Tony La Russa often used on the lineup attention-grabber in an effort to boost offense.
Eric Young Jr. was activated off the 15-day disabled list before Monday night's game against the St. Louis Cardinals and was batting ninth behind rookie right-hander Jacob deGrom.
La Russa was the first manager Collins saw use the ploy. He was set on batting Curtis Granderson leadoff and thought the best place for the speedy Young was at the bottom of the lineup ahead of three players with RBI potential, with Daniel Murphy second and David Wright third.
''All I know is there's a guy in the Hall of Fame that did it, so it can't be all bad,'' Collins said. ''You know what, this might be the perfect time. We'll see if it works.''
Collins wasn't worried about Young's perception, adding, ''When I played, I wanted to see my name in the lineup.''
Young entered with 17 steals in 18 attempts. Aside from that he's struggled, batting .220 with a homer, seven RBIs and a .305 on-base percentage in 42 games.
The Mets had lost nine of 12, scoring two or fewer runs in five of those games. Collins said if the pitcher's spot comes up a fourth time, that should mean they've got the lead.
''You don't have a crystal ball that's going to tell you what's going to happen during the game,'' Collins said, echoing one of La Russa's favorite quotes. ''We just saw a good day to try it and we'll see how it looks.''
In spring training, Collins said the idea was intriguing. He's following the template set by La Russa, who used players with speed ninth and referred to it as a second leadoff man after the first time through the lineup.
Outfielder Andrew Brown was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas. Brown was batting .182 in 19 games with two homers and seven RBIs.