NEW YORK -- If you ask manager Terry Collins what kind of impact Bobby Abreu has had on the team in the first half, he'll point to the outfielder's veteran presence in the clubhouse. This season, that term has been a catch-all phrase.
When Abreu joined the team in late April after signing at the end of Spring Training, many were skeptical of what he could provide the team in the twilight of his career. But after two months, Abreu has proven to be a valuable asset both on and off the field in the Mets' first half.
In 56 games, the lefty slugger is hitting .267 and has amassed nearly the same amount of RBIs (14) as walks (15), filling in when needed for a struggling Chris Young and injured Eric Young Jr. in June.
"He doesn't just talk about the preparation to be an off-the-bench player; he talks about hitting period," said Collins. "He talks about the discipline at the plate, he talks about situational hitting."
Younger players Ruben Tejada, Juan Lagares and even Kirk Nieuwenhuis have benefited from Abreu's hitting expertise and knowledge of the game, and the improvements recently are showing off.
"I like to have him explain the little things and try to learn a lot from him," said Tejada.
"[I] just tell them about what they can do in special situations in the game, how they can get a good approach at the plate, a game plan, so they can develop it to the game," said Abreu. "I think it's going to help them [for] the future. Ruben's starting to do better. ... Now he's more consistent at the plate. Lagares is going to be an All-Star, no doubt. So I'm just giving them simple advice to make them be a better player than they already are." As for his ability to still produce as a 40-year-old, Abreu is just glad his advice is being backed up on the field.
"One way is to talk and another way is to execute," he said. "But [I'm] doing both, so they understand what it's all about."
Collins praises Murphy's All-Star work ethic
NEW YORK -- One of the drawbacks to Daniel Murphy being selected as the Mets' only All-Star is that manager Terry Collins will be hard-pressed to find him time to rest. It may have to be Sunday's series finale against the Marlins.
Just a few days before Murphy departs for the Midsummer Classic, Collins couldn't help but provide a laundry list of attributes that he's admired in his second baseman, one of the first Major Leaguers he met after joining the Mets.
"I watched him during January camp, the way he worked, the way he went about it," said Collins. "That was when he was just coming off playing a little left field and went to first base. ... All he did was grab a glove. He never asked why, never talked about he couldn't do it. Just grabbed a glove and went and played."
Collins was especially impressed with Murphy's ability to stay focused in 2010, when he got injured in a rundown in one of the Mets' final Spring Training games.
"To watch the rehab guys to see how hard this guy was working to get back," said Collins. "Every night, third row, St. Lucie game. Dan Murphy is there. Big league player watching an A-ball game every night. ... That just showed me he was a baseball player."
While Murphy will be making his first All-Star Game appearance Tuesday, Mets Triple-A prospects Noah Syndergaard and Kevin Plawecki will be making their national debuts Sunday in the Futures Game.
Plawecki, the Mets' sixth-ranked prospect on MLB.com's Top 20 Prospects list, hit .326 with an .864 OPS in 58 games for Double-A Binghamton before he was promoted to Las Vegas in late June.
"He's gonna be an outstanding offensive player," said Collins. "He's really got a good swing."
Syndergaard, the Mets' top-ranked pitching prospect, will enter Sunday's game hot, coming off his best start of the year -- seven innings of one-run ball -- after a rough first half.
"There's a growing period that you've gotta go through, especially in that Pacific Coast League," said Collins. "Here's a guy that can throw 98-99 mph, but they're still getting hits, where the year before they didn't. I think it's something you've just gotta learn to get through."
• Righty Jeremy Hefner pitched one perfect inning Friday for the rookie-level Gulf Coast Mets. It was his first game action since undergoing Tommy John surgery on Aug. 28, 2013.
• Collins indicated that Bartolo Colon will start Friday against the Padres, and the manager expects Dillon Gee to start sometime during that same weekend following the All-Star break.
• Collins had nothing new to say about lefty starter Jon Niese, whom the Mets hope to have back in the rotation after the break.
"Tired shoulder. Doing all the treatment, just have to see him throw," said Collins.
Jake Kring-Schreifels is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.