Jacobs faces unknown, but glad he's back
First baseman trying to land one of Mets' final roster spots
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Mike Jacobs is coming off a rough season, he had to settle for a Minor League contract he didn't sign until late in the offseason, and the odds of landing an Opening Day roster spot for the 2010 campaign seem stacked against him.
But Jacobs is in a Mets uniform again, and he's happy.
"Oh, I'm really happy," Jacobs said. "When I left here, I hoped to one day be able to come back. The opportunity was obviously there, so I had to jump on it.
"I feel like I'm at home again, to be honest with you. I feel like I'm where I should be, so it's exciting to be back here."
When Jacobs last sported a Mets uniform, he was an up-and-coming power-hitting first baseman, who needed just 30 Major League games to hit 11 home runs and sport a .310 batting average during his rookie year in 2005.
Now, after three pretty solid seasons with the Marlins and a rough one with the Royals, Jacobs has returned to the Tradition Field clubhouse.
But will that be as far as he goes?
Mets manager Jerry Manuel has said Daniel Murphy is pretty much the guy at first base, and due to the fact that Murphy -- like Jacobs -- also hits from the left side and is shaky defensively, a possible platoon situation is senseless. So, right now, it appears like the 29-year-old Jacobs is competing against his locker-room neighbor, Frank Catalanotto, for the final position-player spot on the Mets' active roster.
Catalanotto has an advantage, because he can play multiple positions, but Jacobs is just taking it day by day.
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"It's different coming into Spring Training and having to compete for a job rather than previous Spring Trainings, going in knowing that I was going to be the starting first baseman or what have you," Jacobs said. "But after the year I had last year, it's just another part of the journey, really. It's different, but again, I'm just going to come in here and prepare myself like if I'm going to be on the team anyways."
After being traded to the Marlins in the deal that brought Carlos Delgado to the Mets after the 2005 season, Jacobs put up solid power numbers in three years in South Florida -- an average of 23 homers and 75 RBIs per season, but just a .258 batting average and a .314 on-base percentage.
Then, in his first year in the American League, Jacobs mainly served as a designated hitter for Kansas City, and finished the 2009 season batting just .228 with a .297 on-base percentage, a .401 slugging percentage and 19 homers in 128 games.
"I think for as low as my batting average was, I still think I was pretty productive at the plate, driving in runs and hitting some homers and things like that," Jacobs said. "It's different when you go to a league like the American League that obviously you've never been in and you're facing new guys every day. There's definitely an adjustment, I think.
"Ultimately, I still think I can be an everyday player. Baseball has a way of working itself out. So again, I'm coming in here, competing, trying to get on this team, and we'll let the chips fall where they may. We'll see what happens."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.