During Friday’s 5-5 tie against the St. Louis Cardinals, Wilmer Flores made his spring debut at first base. Before the game, Mets legend Keith Hernandez sat with Flores to give him some last minute tips before he took the field for the first time at a position he is not too familiar with.
The two discussed some of the basics and with a lot of emphasis on footwork when playing the position. All in all Flores had a nice day in the field, making all of the plays expected without error.
“He played well,” Hernandez said. “He’s just got to do what he did today, make all the plays.” (MLB.com)
Flores, who is expected to be the main backup to Lucas Duda at first base, is taking on a very significant super-utility role this season for the Mets. He admitted that manning first base on Friday was a bit strange to him once the game started.
“I felt weird, but it’s still the infield,” Flores said. “It’s just a different angle. I got used to it as the game went on. Not hard, not easy. It was just different.”
Hernandez, who also had a one-on-one meeting with Flores about the position earlier in the week is confident that Flores will get to where he needs to be at the position in due time.
“He’s just got to learn the footwork around the bag — that’s the most important thing,” Hernandez said. “A ground ball is a ground ball, as an infielder. It’s just getting comfortable around the bag.”
Flores will be looked upon to play every infield position this coming year, also serving as the main backup to David Wright as he manages through spinal stenosis. Though it seemed as he was displaced by the Mets’ deals for Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera, Flores may actually see more time this year than he ever had in any previous season.