Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

At-Bats May Not Be There for Mets' Flores

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

At-Bats May Not Be There for Mets' Flores

Article excerpt

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- A year as a successful bench player hasn't made the role any easier for Wilmer Flores. He still isn't fully comfortable with the infrequent at-bats that accompany a bench job, and the 25-year-old believes he's at his best when he's receiving regular at-bats.

"It's going to be hard if you don't play for three days and then have to go out there and do your thing," Flores said. "Only thing I can do is get ready to play."

Flores is again slated to be a reserve player this season, but he may be in store for another year with sporadic playing time aside from regular at-bats against lefty pitching.

Mets manager Terry Collins said on Friday that Flores will be in the lineup against lefties, but not as often against right-handers because of the team's collection of lefty and switch-hitting infielders. Flores also has not made a case to play against right-handed pitchers with a career .661 on-base-plus-slugging percentage against them.

"I'm just ready to play," Flores said. "I know I can play in the big leagues' level. I know I can play every day, but it's not my choice when it comes to making the lineup."

Flores transitioned back to a bench role last season after serving as the starting shortstop in 2015 and has reiterated for two years now that he does not have a great handle of the bench role. He's not as comfortable with preparing for one at-bat a night and not knowing whether he will play.

Starting against left-handed pitchers is the one assurance that Flores has, but there are not enough lefties to assure he will be in the lineup multiple times each week. The Mets will go through series where they don't' face a lefty pitcher, and it's not a given a team will use a lefty reliever each night.

Last season, Flores posted the third-best OPS (1.093) in the majors against southpaws, and hit 11 homers in 100 at-bats with a . …

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