Matt Den Dekker can see how quickly things can change in Mets camp. As he was transferred to Minor League camp eight days ago and then transferred back Friday, when injuries to center fielders Andres Torres (left calf strain) and Scott Hairston (strained oblique) left the position up in the air. He now has at least a chance to make the team out of Spring Training.
Mets manager Terry Collins is impressed by the fact that den Dekker hit 17 homers between Class A Port St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton last year. The organization believes he's capable of playing defense at the big league level right now, and will be watching closely to see how he progresses offensively. He didn't play against the Braves, but is slated to start Saturday against the Cardinals at Digital Domain Stadium.
If Torres and Hairston are unavailable for Opening Day, Collins said den Dekker is one of several options under consideration.
"He's in the mix," the manager said. "He's a legitimate consideration."
The 24-year-old is just happy to be back in big league camp.
"You want to make the most of your opportunities," den Dekker said. "Try to play the defense I know I can play and get my offensive game going. I've got a little bit of pop, and when I get to a ball, I can hit it out. But more of my game is getting on base. Last year I struck out a bunch [156 times in 539 at-bats], and I'd like to cut down on that a little bit this year. Try to get on base and let the other guys drive me in. Try to cut down my swing a little bit with two strikes. Put the ball in play and use my legs."
Den Dekker batted a combined .265 in the Minors last season while stealing 24 bases and scoring 103 runs.
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