Sunday, July 14, 2013
'Spin to see infield, outfield action with 51s
By Adam Rubin
PITTSBURGH -- Jordany Valdespin picked a good time, if there is any, to get demoted to Las Vegas. The Triple-A team is now off until Thursday for their All-Star break.
When play resumes, Terry Collins expects Valdespin will shuffle around the field to different positions, since Ruben Tejada is the shortstop and Wilmer Flores is the second baseman. (Flores actually had started three of the past five games at first base.)
"I just think he's got to play anyplace," Collins said about Valdespin. "That's what he's going to do here. With Ruben at shortstop and Flores at second, he's going to have to move around a little bit -- maybe even get him back in the outfield a little bit more -- so when we use him, if we need any double-switches, he can play anywhere."
Valdespin was 2-for-his-last-36 before the demotion and had not started a game since June 22.
"We've talked about this many times: It's hard for a young player who has pretty much spent his whole career as an everyday player to come up and play, maybe, once a week and then come off the bench and hit," Collins said. "It's very difficult. So he's got to go get some playing time. He's got to go get his swing back -- certainly get back in the lineup. If he's going to come back, at least he's got to get some at-bats."
Minus Valdespin, David Wright would fill in at shortstop if Omar Quintanilla were forced to leave Sunday's game. The Mets expect Justin Turner (left intercostal strain) to be ready to return from the DL when the second half begins Friday. Turner began a rehab assignment Saturday in the Gulf Coast League and is expected to shift to the Florida State League today.
"We're certainly hoping," Collins said about a Friday return. "Justin is a pretty big piece here because he can play anywhere in that infield. And, obviously, when he comes off the bench he's dangerous."
As for the other shortstop, Collins said the aim with Tejada at Las Vegas is to try to get him to hit line drives in the middle of the field. Tejada is hitting .245 through 49 at-bats with the 51s.
"They're trying to do the same thing we wanted to do with him, and that's get the ball out of the air," Collins said.