Last night, in the Mets 7-2 loss to the Dodgers, Juan Lagares entered the game in the top of the fifth inning to play center field as part of a double-switch – officially marking his major league debut.
Lagares led off in the bottom half of the fifth with a hard hit fly to the warning track in left field against Dodgers’ ace LHP Clayton Kershaw. In his next at-bat, Lagares singled against left-hander Paco Rodriguez in the seventh for his first major league hit. The first of what I’m sure will be many.
“When I got to the dugout, all my teammates said ‘Congratulations,’” Lagares said. “I really don’t know how to say it, but I am so excited to be here with the team.”
Lagares, 24, was promoted in place of outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who was optioned to Las Vegas after hitting .125 (2-for-16).
I appealed to the Mets to call him up only the day before they did after looking at his .346 (27-for-78) in 17 games with Las Vegas. The athletic outfielder started every game in centerfield and had already hit three home runs, three doubles and two triples in his 82 total plate appearances. His .929 OPS was second on the team.
“He’s the future,” Mets manager Terry Collins said before Tuesday’s game. “A great defender. Got some power. There are people in this organization that think he’s a better outfielder than Matt den Dekker. That speaks a lot.”
Initially an infielder, Lagares converted to the outfield in 2009 and has only gotten better according to Wally Backman.
Collins said Lagares will start Wednesday with the Dodgers starting left-hander Ted Lilly.
Welcome to The Show, kid…