MIAMI -- Zach Lutz is nothing if not realistic.
The corner infielder, who was promoted to the major leagues on Saturday along with catcher Mike Nickeas, appears blocked from any significant playing time with the Mets.
Lutz, who hit .299 with 10 homers and 34 RBIs in 72 games this season at Triple-A Buffalo, said his best position defensively is third base. He will likely be used as a pinch-hitter and a pinch-runner for the rest of the season.
But that doesn’t mean there are no opportunities for Lutz to shine.
“Things change,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “His job is to play hard and convince everyone he deserves a job. There are 30 teams in the big leagues looking for good players.”
Lutz, 26, sitting in front of his locker before Saturday’s game, had a similar thought process. “I just want to perform,” he said, “and whatever happens, happens.”
Lutz made his big-league debut earlier this year, going 1-for-4 in four games. But he broke a bone in his right hand while fouling a pitch off in a game and missed the next five weeks.
He returned to Triple-A and put together a fairly productive season before Buffalo manager Wally Backman told him after Friday’s game that he had been promoted.
Lutz and Nickeas got a 5 a.m. wakeup call Saturday morning to fly to New York and on to Miami.
Comically, Collins was asked on Saturday if he knew much about Lutz.
(Did we expect Collins to say: "Lutz? Who’s that?”)
“I know all about him,” Collins said. “He’s got power, good hitter, plays first and third. He can be dangerous.”
Now what needs to be figured out is if Lutz fulfills his potential and becomes dangerous in the big leagues. And, if he does become dangerous, does he do it for the Mets, or does he become a trading chip for help at a weaker position such as catcher, outfielder or reliever?
Lutz said he has little experience as a pinch-hitter and even less as an outfielder, although he takes fly balls in left in practice. He said he has one more option to be sent down to the minors next year. For now, though, he’s just happy to be in the big leagues.
“I’ve overcome some tough injuries,” Lutz said. “It feels good to be here -- really good, actually.”