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Tuesday, August 27, 2013
den Dekker to share center attention

By Adam Rubin

NEW YORK -- Matt den Dekker received notification of his promotion with a qualifier late on Monday night. Wally Backman summoned den Dekker, along with Anthony Recker and Robert Carson, and told them to proceed to the airport on Tuesday morning and await further instructions.

"It was still kind of unknown," den Dekker said. "They told us we had tickets waiting for us at the airport and to go there and we'd hear in the morning and they'd let us know when we got there."

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They then were instructed to board the flight to New York.

"And when we got off we figured out what happened and all that," den Dekker said after Tuesday's 5-0 win against the Philadelphia Phillies, in a game he did not appear.

With Marlon Byrd and John Buck traded and Matt Harvey placed on the DL, all three players promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas were activated by the Mets.

Carson and Recker had been here before, but den Dekker is poised to make his major league debut when Terry Collins places him in the lineup.

Collins suggested the likelihood is the lefty-hitting den Dekker and righty-hitting Andrew Brown will share time in the outfield. When Brown starts, Juan Lagares will play center field. When den Dekker starts, a fair amount of the time den Dekker will start in center field and Lagares will man right field.

Den Dekker has appeared in six games in left field and two games in right field during his minor league career, whereas Lagares -- despite his center-field prowess -- has appeared in 247 minor league games in the corners.

"First of all, Juan has played great. And I will never, ever say anything different," Collins said. "But Matt den Dekker is going to play some center field here, because, No. 1, we have to see it -- just as we are going to watch Wilmer Flores play second base when Dan Murphy is the second baseman. There are going to be times Matt den Dekker is going to be in center field and there's a chance Juan Lagares is going to be in right field. Right now, as I sit here today, yes, we'll probably do a tandem of Brownie and Matt. But that doesn't mean Matt's not playing center."

Den Dekker hit .296 with six homers, 38 RBIs and eight steals in nine attempts in 53 games with Las Vegas after finally recovering from a broken right wrist suffered attempting another highlight-reel catch during spring training.

As for the length of time it took for the wrist to heal, den Dekker said: "It took a little longer than I expected. I think I was down in Florida for three months. It was tough at the beginning, but then time flew by and I got back and started playing with St. Lucie again. I got back to Vegas and struggled a little bit there, but then once I started getting it going, my swing started feeling good. And then I got the call yesterday I was coming up."