Mets call up highly touted prospect Flores
Closer Parnell heads to disabled list with neck issue in corresponding move
NEW YORK -- For years, David Wright's stardom has blocked Wilmer Flores' apparent path to the big leagues. Now, an injury to Wright has created an opportunity for him.
The Mets called up Flores prior to Tuesday's game against the Rockies, rewarding an infielder who hit .321 with 15 home runs in 107 games at Triple-A Las Vegas. To clear roster space for Flores to make his Major League debut, the team placed closer Bobby Parnell on the disabled list with a herniated disc in his neck.
The Mets have been playing with a shorthanded bench, so replacing Parnell with Flores balances their roster. Flores immediately stepped into the starting lineup, batting sixth and playing third base Tuesday night against Colorado.
"It was time," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "It's time to get him up here and let him have a little taste of what it's going to be like to play at this level. We know he's a good offensive player. The sky is the limit offensively for him, so we're going to see if he can bring something to the table."
A natural shortstop whom scouts have long viewed as too large and immobile for the position, Flores split time between second and third base last season before playing almost exclusively at second this summer at Vegas. Though there was some thought that Flores would continue to man second base in the Majors, he will instead debut at third.
"It's been a long time -- I haven't played third base in a long time," said Flores, who made three refresher starts at the position before leaving Las Vegas. "But ... I feel really good at third and I think I can handle it."
The Mets' fourth-ranked player on MLB.com's 2013 Prospect Watch, Flores was recently in danger of falling off the organizational radar altogether before breaking out last season to the tune of a .300 average and 18 home runs split between Class A Advanced St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton.
"I was basically doing what I've been doing the past four years," Flores said. "I was just trying to stay up the middle offensively, and defensively just keep doing what I've been doing -- make the routine plays, and everything else will come."
Wright suffered a Grade 2 strain of his right hamstring last Friday and is expected to miss three to five weeks.