While talking to reporters about the health of center fielder Andres Torres (calf strain), general manager Sandy Alderson described his chances for being ready on Opening Day as “touch and go”. He also indicated his preference for a “natural centerfielder” when the team breaks camp on April 4.
According to Terry Collins, there has been no improvement since Torres strained his calf and was pulled from a game six days ago. “He’s not a whole lot better,” Collins said.
The two options behind Torres are Scott Hairston and Kirk Nieuwenhuis who are both still out with oblique injuries. Hairston is expected to take batting practice today for the first time this Spring.
Jordany Valdespin will get the start in center field this afternoon, but Mike Baxter, Adam Loewen and Matt den Dekker are already getting reps in center with den Dekker being the only natural centerfielder among those players.
Den Dekker, 24, is considered a plus defender, but he struck out 156 times last season between Single-A and Double-A and is a poor hitter. Collins said while he is not leaning in any one direction, he feels most comfortable with Matt den Dekker right now because of his defensive skills. However, the strikeouts are a big concern.