Mets’ Mark Vientos ‘probably’ will play the next three days
DENVER — Fans have been begging the Mets to play the kids. The Mets are carrying three of their four blue-chip prospects on the Major League roster and Ronny Mauricio is tearing up Triple-A.
But Daniel Vogelbach was back in the lineup Friday at the DH spot and Mark Vientos was on the bench for the first game of a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies in Denver. However, the Mets plan to play Vientos in the second two games when they face both a right-hander (Chase Anderson) and a left-hander (Austin Gomber) and Tuesday when the Mets return home to face the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Mets chose to start Vogelbach citing past success for the slugger at Coors Field.
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“It’s a juggle,” said manager Buck Showalter. “We’re trying to do what’s best for our team and at the same time, be fair to everybody. But I plan to play Mark the next, probably, three days. We’ll see how it goes tonight. He’s a good weapon off the bench.”
Showalter cited Vientos as a late-game option against left-handed relievers Brent Suter and Brad Hand.
The Mets also used Tommy Pham against right-hander Connor Seabold on Friday in the series opener. Pham typically is deployed against left-handed pitchers but Canha has been struggling at the plate this season, though he has amassed a three-game hit streak.
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“I’m not going to let Tommy or anybody get too far away from playing,” Showalter said. “We’ll try to keep everybody in a flow. If somebody really separates himself then we’ll run with it. We’re giving everybody an opportunity to get it going.”
Mauricio has been playing shortstop, second base and DH for Triple-A Syracuse and Showalter said the reports he has received about the power-hitting infielder have been positive. However, his 11 errors do stand out. Mauricio has made six at second base and five at shortstop. Some of them can be forgiven since he is playing second base for the first time but it’s fair to question some.
General manager Billy Eppler has been adamant that prospects be defensively sound and capable of fielding their positions at a Major League level before calling them up. “It’s angles,” Showalter said of Mauricio’s challenges at second base. “Guys will tell you it’s easier to go from second to short than short to second because when you’re turning the double play you’ve got your side to [the base] a little bit. It’s just getting used to the different angles.”
Maurcio’s power numbers are tantalizing for a club lacking power: He’s hitting .349 with a .970 OPS, seven home runs, 22 doubles and two triples.
Infielder Eduardo Escobar has not necessarily been embraced by the fans this year as he has struggled to start the season, but he’s still embracing them. The Mets didn’t take batting practice at Coors Field because of midday thunderstorms that had come through, but Escobar still went out to sign autographs for fans while his sons played catch.
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The infielder continues to be a positive presence in the clubhouse on social media. He started posting videos on TikTok last season and has continued to do so this season in an effort to give fans a glimpse of what his life is like behind the scenes. Escobar said his most popular videos have been with his dog, Picañero, a St. Bernard that has grown to be over 160 pounds.
Left-hander Jose Quintana threw off the mound at Citi Field on Friday. He’ll throw five bullpen sessions before the Mets decide on his next step.