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Mets manager Terry Collins: 'It's time' for playoffs

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PORT ST. LUCIE, Florida — Like a lot of New York Mets fans, manager Terry Collins is tired of waiting for a playoff run.

"We've been sitting around for four years asking everybody to be patient and even the players," Collins said Saturday after the first workout for pitchers and catchers.

"Well, it's time," he said. "We've got guys now that have been in the big leagues for four and five years. It's time for them to step up and play the game the way everybody expects it to be played."

A day earlier, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said five years was enough to turn around a franchise, regardless of payroll constraints.

The Mets have not made the playoffs since 2006 and have not finished above .500 since 2008. The Alderson-Collins regime is heading into its fifth year.

PHOTO: Fans look through a hole in a screen over a fence as New York Mets pitchers and catchers start their first official spring training baseball practice of the season Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015, in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Fans look through a hole in a screen over a fence as New York Mets pitchers and catchers start their first official spring training baseball practice of the season Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015, in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

New York was 79-83 and finished third in the NL East in 2014 while ace Matt Harvey and closer Bobby Parnell were out with injuries and star third baseman David Wright was ailing.

"What we accomplished last year with the fact that we didn't have our No. 1 starter, we didn't have our closer, our third baseman played hurt most of the season," Collins said.

"There were a lot of positives going into the offseason and I say, Hey, it's time,'" he said.

The Mets were relatively quiet this offseason. They signed right fielder Michael Cuddyer to a two-year, $21 million deal and brought in John Mayberry Jr. to bolster the bench.

But the team expects to have Harvey and Wright healthy for a full year and hope to have Parnell back between mid-April and early-May.

"We should match up against a lot of teams, now we just have to go play," Collins said. "It's all about execution. ... There's no reason why, if we can't play up to expectations and what we think the caliber of players we have, we'll be playing in October."

NOTES: Collins said the Mets will not skip Harvey in the rotation early in the season, meaning he should make his first start before the Mets' home opener on April 13. "He's going to be in those first five guys, I'll tell you that," Collins said. ... The Mets are considering either Juan Lagares or Curtis Granderson to bat leadoff this season, Collins said. ... If the Mets break camp with six starting pitchers, Collins said Dillon Gee will be moved to the bullpen. ... Jenrry Mejia, who had 28 saves in 2014, is expected to start the season as the team's closer and could retain the role when Parnell returns, Collins said.

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