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Mets dedicated to keeping Cuddyer healthy

NEW YORK -- Sixty-six games into the season, the Mets are in full Michael Cuddyer Injury Prevention mode.

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Cuddyer was out of the lineup for the second time in three games on Tuesday, one night after dashing from first base to score the tying run in the 11th inning of the Mets' win over the Blue Jays. Cuddyer also sprinted full speed to first base on a groundout in the sixth and played all 11 innings in left field.

Part of the decision to sit him on Tuesday, manager Terry Collins said, was born of a desire to keep giving the hot-hitting and slick-fielding rookie Darrell Ceciliani regular at-bats. But most of it was because of wariness over Cuddyer's stamina at age 36.

"No disrespect," Collins said, "but at his age, we're going to make sure that his legs stay healthy."

More than most players, Collins has said, Cuddyer is honest and open about when he needs a night on the bench, having taken eight of them over the first 66 games. That's exactly what the organization hoped when it signed Cuddyer to a two-year, $21 million deal last winter, a few months prior to his 36th birthday. Though Cuddyer had always been a productive hitter when healthy, he landed on the disabled list six times from 2012 to 2014, averaging only 93 games per season.

The Mets believe that giving Cuddyer an average of one day off per week, in addition to extra ones such as Tuesday's as warranted, will help him avoid a similar fate this summer. Collins also plans to use Cuddyer as a designated hitter one time later this week in Toronto.

"That can beat you up," Collins said of Rogers Centre's artificial turf, "even if you're only there for a couple days."

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.
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