Tatis makes first career start at second
Manuel gives Castillo day off to give reserve at-bats
NEW YORK -- Fernando Tatis made his first career start at second base on Sunday afternoon, as Mets manager Jerry Manuel has been hoping to get the reserve some plate appearances.
"I'm more trying to get [Tatis] at-bats than anything else," Manuel said.
Named Major League Baseball's 2008 Comeback Player of the Year, Tatis has appeared in just three games and is hitless (0-for-2) on the year.
If Tatis can hold his own at second base and begin to find his stroke, it would allow Manuel more flexibility off the bench.
"If I can find comfort in that after today's game [Tatis can handle second base], that gives me a good feeling," Manuel said. "So if he gets hot, then I can plug him in at different spots."
Tatis has appeared in one game at second base during his career, on Aug. 16, 2006, with the Orioles. In that appearance he played two innings without a fielding chance.
The Mets have been working on infield play with Tatis, and Manuel said his only concern would be turning a double play in a "bang-bang" situation.
Tatis was penciled in the No. 7 spot in place of red-hot starter Luis Castillo, who Manuel wanted to rest.
"We feel that we have to keep him fresh because of all the different leg injuries he's had in the past," Manuel said of Castillo, who entered Sunday batting .400. "If we keep him fresh and keep him going he can be real, real key for us."
Manuel has also wanted to get some rest for Carlos Delgado, who has experienced a little tightness in both quadriceps. The Mets starting first baseman, Delgado was in Sunday's lineup but could see an off-day during New York's series in St. Louis, which starts Tuesday.
Brittany Ghiroli is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.