ATLANTA -- Though the Mets continue to look to the future as often as possible down the stretch, do not expect an infusion of youth into the closer's role anytime soon.
Manager Terry Collins said Monday that he plans to keep LaTroy Hawkins as his primary closer for the foreseeable future, in a continued effort to win as many games as possible down the stretch.
"One of the things we sit here and try to balance is trying to give guys opportunities, to look down the road and see where they might fit, but also for our fan base to win some baseball games," Collins said. "This isn't a tryout camp. Just because we've got some young players here and everybody just wants you to run them out there -- well, our fans want to win. And so do the guys in that locker room. So it's a fine line of who you play and when you play them, to decide what's going to fit best."
Though the Mets have a pair of intriguing young bullpen arms in right-handers Gonzalez Germen and Vic Black, each of whom could see scattered ninth-inning chances in September, the bulk of the work should still go to Hawkins.
Another part of the motivation, Collins said, is allowing Hawkins to continue climbing up Major League Baseball's all-time lists. The 19-year veteran entered Monday's play six saves shy of 100, while his 931 appearances ranked 20th in history. A heavy September workload would draw him close to Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers, who is 19th with 944 appearances.
"Right now, Hawk's done a great job," Collins said. "He's going to stay in that role. We're hoping by the end of this year, this guy is pretty high in the record books."
Tough Labor Day turnaround nothing new to Mets
ATLANTA -- In a season defined by extra-inning marathons and countless weather delays, the Mets awoke Monday morning with yet another gripe. After playing a night game in Washington, flying to Atlanta and arriving at their hotel just before 4 a.m. ET, the Mets were forced to turn around for a 1:10 p.m. Labor Day game at Turner Field.
Asked if he received any sleep, manager Terry Collins replied: "Not a lot, but enough to wash my face and brush my teeth and write the lineup up."
The Mets had originally been scheduled to play a day game in Washington, but ESPN shifted their game to primetime in part because other teams had exceeded their allotment of Sunday Night Baseball appearances for the season. The quick turnaround was legal in the Collective Bargaining Agreement because the Mets' flight from Washington to Atlanta was less than 90 minutes.
As a small consolation, players were allowed to report late to the clubhouse, with most of them filtering in about an hour and a half before first pitch.