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Must C Clutch: Chris Young puts Mets ahead in 8th

Arizona manager Kirk Gibson has seen what his counterpart, Terry Collins, very badly wants to see -- an impactful Chris Young.

The Mets outfielder, who averaged more than 21 homers in his six full seasons with the D-backs, is struggling to the tune of a .206 average and .652 OPS entering Saturday's game, the first of three weekend contests at Citi Field between the two teams following Friday's rainout.

Young drew a walk in his only plate appearance on Friday, and his presence in the lineup again on Saturday should be no surprise.

The reason is simple, according to Collins: Young is better than this. The numbers -- and Gibson -- say so.

"I had a good conversation with Kirk Gibson about him," Collins said. "Kirk says, 'He gets hot, he has the ability to hit 25 to 30 homers.' We need that. The only way to get that done is to keep him in the lineup at times to give him a chance.

"We have to get Chris Young going. We got this guy for a purpose. We got him to be a guy in the middle of our lineup to help produce runs."

This weekend marks the first time Young is facing his former team since the D-backs shipped him to the A's in a three-team trade in October 2012. Collins' hope is that facing such a familiar opponent lights a fire under Young, similar to how facing the Yankees did so for Curtis Granderson last week.

Arizona right-hander Josh Collmenter is tasked with ensuring that doesn't happen. In order to do that, though, he will have to be sharper than he was on April 14, when the Mets reached him for three runs on five hits (two doubles) in just four innings. That was Collmenter's first game back in the rotation after making four relief appearances, and he has since thrown as many as 100 pitches, a considerable jump from the 73 he was limited to during the Mets' 7-3 win last month.

Fittingly, Collmenter's opponent from that day -- righty Zack Wheeler -- is also his opponent on Saturday. In that previous outing, Wheeler limited Arizona hitters to two runs on six hits over 6 1/3 innings, his longest start of the season.

Wheeler has struggled of late to keep opposing teams off the board, a trend that might not bode well for a pitching staff that would benefit from some length from its starter. Mets relievers combined for 9 2/3 innings over three games this week and will have to manage two games on Sunday. Wheeler, meanwhile, has yielded at last five runs in three of his four starts this month and has recorded just one out in the seventh inning all season.

Mets: d'Arnaud to need rehab assignment
All news has been good news for Travis d'Arnaud -- he has been ramping up his physical and baseball activity in recent days, passing every test from team doctors -- but Collins suggested on Friday that the concussed catcher's return to the lineup is a little more complicated than simply getting clearance from all necessary parties.

"My feeling is he needs to go play someplace [on a rehab assignment]," Collins said. "It's going to be 10 or 11 days since he played. I don't think it has to be long. Go get himself eight to 10 at-bats to see how it feels and go catch in a regular-game setting for seven innings or so to see how he comes back from it. If he's OK, I think he'll be ready to come back."

Whichever field d'Arnaud returns to, he'll do it with slightly altered attire, as he decided to ditch the hockey-style mask in favor of a traditional one as a result of this concussion, his third.

"I thought [the hockey-style masks] were more protection, but it happened twice," d'Arnaud said. "So I'm going to go back to what I'm comfortable with."

D-backs: Pollock comes home, sort of
It's not quite suburban Connecticut, but as far as A.J. Pollock's family is concerned, Citi Field is close enough. The center fielder -- who grew up in Hebron, Conn., about a two-hour drive from Queens -- was expecting about 30 relatives from Connecticut and Long Island to attend this weekend's games.

Pollock, who rooted for the Mets as a kid, won't exactly get a ton of quality time with his loved ones, but he is glad they're getting a chance to see him play live, as that rarely happens given that he plays out west.

Having family in the stands is nice. The logistics of obtaining that many tickets? Not so much.

"Getting tickets for people, it's not so much the money, it's coordinating 20-something tickets that is a nightmare," said Pollock. "On top of trying to figure out how to hit Bartolo Colon, it's not really something I want to get into."

Worth noting
• Only two National League players have at least 90 doubles since the start of 2012: the Mets' Daniel Murphy, and the D-backs' Paul Goldschmidt.

• Gibson did not name a starter for Sunday's second game, but he did rule out relievers Randall Delgado and Trevor Cahill. A callup is likely. Daisuke Matsuzaka will pitch Game 2 for the Mets in his first Major League start since September.

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