3/17/2014 6:12 P.M. ET
den Dekker playing his way onto Mets' roster
By Steve Dorsey / Special to MLB.com
JUPITER, Fla. -- Matt den Dekker would like to head to New York when the Mets break camp in less than two weeks, and so far this spring, the 26-year-old outfielder is making a decent case for a roster spot.
Den Dekker entered Monday's 10-7 loss to the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium with a .375 batting average and a .426 on-base percentage, both of which ranked fifth among all National League players.
Den Dekker, who attended high school less than an hour away at Westminster Academy in Fort Lauderdale, made his MLB debut last August and is vying for a roster spot this spring. Den Dekker knows, however, that there's a chance he could start the season at Triple-A Las Vegas.
"There's a lot of competition out here," den Dekker said. "I'm just enjoying playing, and whatever they decide, they decide. I can't really worry about that too much."
Den Dekker sustained a broken wrist in Spring Training last year and said he spent some extra time with his weight training to gain more strength.
"I feel a lot stronger with my swing," den Dekker said. "I've had a pretty decent spring. Everybody out here is competing for jobs. Obviously, I'd like to be in New York. That's where everybody wants to be."
Den Dekker has played mostly center field, but he started in left on Monday.
"I've played center field all my life, but I can go to left or right as well," den Dekker said, adding that he doesn't care where he plays if he makes the final cut.
Mets manager Terry Collins said that he thinks den Dekker, who was 0-for-2 with two walks in Monday's game against the Marlins, has a solid chance to break camp with the big league club.
"Yep, definitely. He's played very well," Collins said.
Lannan has rare rough start, could see time in 'pen
JUPITER, Fla. -- It was a self-described bad day at the office Monday for John Lannan.
The Mets left-hander allowed five earned runs in his fourth Grapefruit League start, which was his worst this spring after allowing only one earned run in his previous three outings. He gave up eight hits, issued four walks and threw 76 pitches, 42 for strikes, in 3 1/3 innings against the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium.
Lannan also was charged with a wild pitch and gave up a solo home run to pinch-hitter Reed Johnson in the fourth before being relieved by Jose Valverde. It was the walks that bothered Lannan the most, he said.
"You don't want to give free passes," said Lannan, whose ERA ballooned to 4.76. "It's frustrating, but it's something you got to go through sometimes, I guess, and move on."
Lannan, a non-roster invitee to Mets camp who spent two stints on the disabled list while with the Phillies last season, had allowed eight hits combined in his previous three outings. The Marlins matched that total in a 10-7 Miami win Monday.
"I just had a bad day, just couldn't find the strike zone," Lannan said. "Everything felt pretty good. I was just missing the plate. Curveball, slider, everything was kind of falling off and I really couldn't command the strike zone like I did the previous couple of outings. I'll talk to [pitching coach] Dan [Warthen] about what he saw and talk to the catcher about what he saw and then move on."
There's been speculation that Lannan's best chances of pitching for the Mets will be in the bullpen, at least to open the season.
"We've got to have John come out of the 'pen once, just to see what he looks like, and face a lefty," Collins said. "He's lengthened out enough. He threw 75 pitches today, and he's at the point where one more outing and he's at 90 and then we can get him a couple bullpen outings."
• Valverde, who relieved Lannan in the fourth inning Monday, threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings, striking out two without allowing a hit. "He's certainly making a very strong case for a guy that can pitch in the backside of that bullpen," Collins said.
Steve Dorsey is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.