MIAMI -- South Florida has always had a New York flair to it, but more so this week. The Mets found themselves with company at their downtown Miami hotel, when the Brooklyn Nets checked into the same digs for their second-round NBA playoff series against the Miami Heat.
Injured Nets center Brook Lopez showed up at Marlins Park for Monday's series opener, watching batting practice from the warning track behind home plate.
As for the rest of the Nets, Mets manager Terry Collins had not crossed paths with any basketball players at the team hotel as of Monday afternoon.
"They probably weren't [awake] when I got here," Collins quipped.
EY returns to lineup after batting practice injury
MIAMI -- No longer concerned with dizziness, concussion symptoms or anything of the like, Mets outfielder Eric Young Jr. returned to the lineup Monday against the Marlins, one day after Lucas Duda struck him below the right eye with a ball during batting practice. Young said his face was still sore, but nothing more serious than that.
Still, Young's return to the lineup was largely unexpected for another reason. After Juan Lagares came off the disabled list last Thursday, Young immediately descended into a part-time role. It seemed illogical then that Young would play against Marlins starter Nathan Eovaldi.
Manager Terry Collins, however, cited Eovaldi's success against right-handed batters as reason to bench Lagares, noting that Lagares' legs may be tired after playing four complete games in Colorado, as well.
Collins took that line of thinking to an extreme, also playing lefty-swinging shortstop Omar Quintanilla over Ruben Tejada and left-handed-hitting outfielder Bobby Abreu over Chris Young.
"This guy is eating up right-handed hitting," Collins said of Eovaldi, whose career splits tell a similar story.
As for Eric Young, Collins said the Mets will watch him carefully to make sure he suffers no recurrence of concussion symptoms. Young is still clearly fourth on the outfield depth chart behind Lagares, Curtis Granderson and Chris Young.
"He feels fine," Collins said. "We're going to check him during batting practice. If there's any dizziness or any fogginess, if he's lightheaded at all, I'll get him out of there."
Collins instructs players to switch up signs in Miami
MIAMI -- An unorthodox topic came up in the Mets' routine pre-series coaches' meeting Monday at Marlins Park.
Aware of comments made recently by Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, who hinted that the Marlins' home-road disparity could be due in part to sign stealing, Mets manager Terry Collins instructed his catchers and pitching staff to switch up their signs frequently this week in Miami.
"We're going to vary some stuff," Collins said. "I'm not accusing anybody of anything."
The Marlins entered Monday's play averaging 6.2 runs per game at home, vs. 2.7 runs per game on the road. That disparity is even more striking considering they play in one of the league's foremost pitchers' parks.
• Injured pitcher Matt Harvey took a detour from his regular rehab schedule this week, driving down from Port St. Lucie, Fla., to join his teammates in Miami. Harvey will work out under big league supervision this week, before taking the team charter back to New York on Wednesday night.
• SNY's Kidcaster Contest returns this year, offering an opportunity for children ages 7-12 to call a half-inning in the booth alongside Mets broadcasters Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling. Fans can enter their children in the contest by visiting SNY's website. Deadline for entry is Friday.