Mets manager Terry Collins downplayed rumors that he wants the team's front office to release Luis Castillo and said that the second baseman has "picked it up" recently, according to Rich Coutinho of MetsBlog. Despite Collins' statements, the Mets' second base situation remains murky.
Mike Puma of the New York Post hears that Collins remains committed to making Luis Hernandez the team's starting second baseman, but Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork hears that Hernandez has just an "outside" shot at the job (Twitter links).
Hernandez and Castillo are in competition with Daniel Murphy and Rule 5 pick Brad Emaus for the starting second base job. Castillo is set to earn $6MM in 2011, the last year of his four-year, $25MM contract and the Mets appear prepared to absorb the 35-year-old's salary if he doesn't have a role on the team. He hit .235/.337/.267 last year and spent 47 days on the DL recovering from a left foot injury.