Wilmer Flores has been hard at work at the Mets spring training facility at Port St. Lucie preparing for his new role as the team’s utility infielder. He recently told MLB.com that he is excited about his new role and he is dedicated to making the most of his opportunity.
“I just want to play. I just want to play baseball, and if this is the opportunity to play, I’ll take it. Being that guy that plays everywhere, I’ll do it.”
Flores, 24, is confident he can handle all four infield positions whenever manager Terry Collins pencils him into the lineup. “When I got here I played third. I played short and second. I’ve even played some first base back in the minors. There’s nothing new for me. It’s like everything else, you get used to it.”
Last season, Flores batted .263 with 22 doubles, 16 home runs and 59 RBI in 137 games with a .705 OPS. However, he produced a .310/.355/.600 batting line in 107 plate appearances vs LHP, which assures him of a spot in the lineup whenever the Mets face a left-handed starter.
Terry Collins says Flores will be the team’s primary back-up for Lucas Duda at first base, that he’ll see time at third base when David Wright needs a day off. Flores will also see plenty of time at second base when Neil Walker sits against tough left-handed pitching. Sandy Alderson recently said he expects Flores to get at least 400 at-bats this season.
In an interview with Kevin Kernan of the New York Post, Flores talked about how much he loves playing for the team, “I want to be a Met forever.’’
“This team cares about each other, this is really one team and it starts with David Wright. He’s the leader, the captain, and he makes you feel a part of this team. We’re going to work harder than ever to get back to the World Series.’’
“I’m very proud to be a Met,’’ said Flores, who was nearly traded last season. “If it ever happens again, if I get traded, I will be sad. I will probably cry again.”
To Wilmer Flores, playing for the Mets is more than just a job – he considers himself part of a big extended family. He has been with the Mets since he was signed as a 16-year old, which explains his attachment to the organization – and his devotion to excelling in his new super-utility role.
By the way, Flores told the Post that the fractured ankle he suffered during Winter Ball in Venezuela is 100 percent healed.