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Terry Collins not ruling out using R.A. Dickey on short rest to help his Cy Young bid

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The Mets have floated the possibility of using R.A. Dickey on short rest at various times this season, but that talk has died down in recent weeks as the team has faded in the standings. However, Mets manager Terry Collins raised the possibility again this afternoon after Dickey finished off a complete game 6-1 victory over the Marlins.

Dickey is now tied with Angels right-hander Jered Weaver for the major-league lead with 15 wins while the knuckleballer ranks fourth in the National League in ERA (2.72) and first in strikeouts (166), WHIP (1.00) and complete games (three). The Mets haven’t had a Cy Young Award winner since Dwight Gooden in 1985 or a 20-game winner since Frank Viola in 1990, so Collins told Anthony DiComo of MLB.com that he would consider using Dickey more often in September in order to boost his chances.

“Will I? I certainly might, yes,” Collins said. “He certainly deserves that shot. I thought Jose Reyes deserved to win the batting title last year, too. I got criticized for that, and I may get criticized for this.”

Reyes, of course, exited the final game of the regular season last year after reaching on a bunt single in the first inning. It wasn’t without controversy, as Reyes was booed as he left the field and Collins was brought to tears in his post-game press conference, but the speedy shortstop ended up beating out Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun to become the first player in Mets history to win the National League batting title.

Dickey predictably said all the right things when asked about the possibility, noting that he doesn’t want the individual to overshadow over the team.

“I would not want to be on three days’ rest purely to win more games,” Dickey said. “If we can claw back in this thing and they think that I give our team the best chance to win, or a good chance to win, then I’m willing to do that. And I’ve voiced that. But we’ll see where it goes.”

If Dickey stays on his current schedule and pitches every fifth game, he currently projects to make 10 more starts this season.

Mets leaning on Jay Bruce, Neil Walker as Lucas Duda insurance

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 12:  Pinch hitter Lucas Duda #21 of the New York Mets walks back to the dugout after striking out for the first out of the ninth inning against Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  The Dodgers won 5-0.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.

Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”

Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”

The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.

Jason Kipnis diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates after scoring a run on a wild pitch thrown by Jon Lester #34 of the Chicago Cubs (not pictured) during the fifth inning in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.

There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.

Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.