Switch-hitting Angel Pagan’s lone start lone start since injuring his right side a week ago had come against Marlins left-hander Nate Robertson in San Juan, because Pagan has found it more comfortable swinging from the right side. But Pagan predicted he would be in the lineup and batting lefty against Nationals right-hander Luis Atilano on Friday.
New York Mets
Pagan pinch ran for Chris Carter in the sixth inning Thursday, remained in the game in center field and ultimately did bat against a right-handed pitcher for the first time since June 23. Pagan tapped out weakly to closer Matt Capps in the ninth inning, but blamed that on his layoff and pronounced himself fit to return to the starting lineup.
“I feel a little rusty,” Pagan said. “I haven’t taken a lefty swing in probably over a week. So I know I’ve got a better swing than that. But, at the same time, I found out I think I’m ready for tomorrow. It was pain-free. So tomorrow I’m going to give myself an opportunity to play and see what happens.”
If Pagan was fit to hit from the left side Thursday, why didn’t he just start over Jesus Feliciano in center field rather than enter late?
“We were going to try to keep him away from that as much as possible,” manager Jerry Manuel said. “But we felt at that point, with the game the way it was, and what he had proven today in the cage late, we felt he could do it at that point.”
Jose Reyes, who experienced similar trouble with his right side for the first time Wednesday in San Juan and has now been sidelined two games, didn’t feel ideal testing himself before Thursday’s game.
“When I swung today it was a little sore,” Reyes said.
Manuel said he was eyeing Saturday for Reyes’ return, but hard-throwing Stephen Strasburg arguably isn’t the ideal time to reintroduce to the lineup a player who has had difficulty swinging.