Bruce, 30, has only 15 games of experience playing the position, and admittedly hasn’t been focused on first-base this spring, saying, “I don’t even think about it,” when asked about his first baseman’s glove that’s been sitting unused all spring.
Adrian Gonzalez, the Mets’ projected starter at first, had a tough spring. The 35-year-old slugger slashed .207/.270/.293 in 58 Spring Training at-bats, with one home run and two RBI. Although the team is only on the hook for a fraction ($535,000) of his $22.357 million salaries this season, he may not be the long-term solution.
Bruce had this to say about Adrian Gonzalez’ less-than-stellar spring, “(Gonzalez) just has to stay on the field. I think he will be fine. He didn’t have the Spring Training he would want, I don’t think, but he started swinging the bat better at the end, and he doesn’t need to come in here and prove he can hit because he can hit. There is no question about that.”
With Wilmer Flores as the next man up in case Gonzo falters, Jay Bruce’s name has been floated around by fans as a candidate to slide into the position as a Plan B of sorts. Sandy Alderson even admitted that he could play the position “in a pinch” a couple of weeks ago.
Bruce doesn’t seem to be against the idea and seems to be willing to help the team in any capacity, saying this about the prospects of the scenario:
“If they need me to work on it, then we’ll do it. I would work at it and be as ready as I can be. We’ll be all right, though, and if we aren’t we’ll still be all right.”
All of this seems to run contrary to comments made by GM Sandy Alderson over the weekend, who told reporters that Bruce could end up playing first base on a “reasonably every day basis” if that was what the team needed.’
Alderson explained that the reason Bruce received no playing time at first base this Spring, was to avoid a media distraction about who was the primary first baseman comparable to a quarterback controversy.