6/26/2014 7:17 P.M. ET
With Flores gone, Mets shorthanded up middle
By Stephen Pianovich / MLB.com
PITTSBURGH -- When the Mets activated center fielder Juan Lagares from the disabled list Thursday and sent shortstop Wilmer Flores to Triple-A Las Vegas, the focus turned to the presence of six outfielders on their roster -- and no true backup shortstop or second baseman.
The reasoning manager Terry Collins gave was the club wants Flores, a 22-year-old who struggled at the plate in the Majors, to be getting consistent at-bats. That's something he wasn't getting with New York.
"The rationale I thought, which I told Wilmer was, we all like Wilmer a lot and he proved he could play shortstop in the Major Leagues here," Collins said Thursday. "For him to be the player we all expect him to be, he has to play. He has to be in the lineup, and he's not getting the chance to be in the lineup."
In 25 appearances and 80 at-bats, Flores was scuffling with a .225/.253/.300 slash line and had almost as many strikeouts (17) as hits (18). While Flores didn't give the Mets much production with his bat, he did provide options in the middle infield.
That defensive presence, at least temporarily, is gone. Collins said he would use utility man Eric Campbell as a backup for shortstop Ruben Tejada. However, Collins said he would not feel comfortable using Campbell at shortstop in a double-switch scenario, and he is an emergency option at the position.
Campbell has played both corner-infield and outfield spots for the Mets this season, and has mainly been posted at third base and left field during his professional tenure. He did play two games at shortstop for Las Vegas earlier in 2014, committing two errors in two games.
Lagares makes return to center field in opener
PITTSBURGH -- Fresh off the disabled list, Juan Lagares was in the Mets' lineup Thursday for the first time since June 1.
A right intercostal strain led to Lagares' second stint on the disabled list this season -- the first was a right hamstring issue in April -- but after a few rehab stints to help get his swing back and get rid of any hesitation, the center fielder said he was ready to play.
"The first couple of games, I was afraid to swing," Lagares said of his four-game rehab stint in the Gulf Coast League and Double-A. "Now I feel more confident, I feel normal. I've been swinging a lot, and I don't feel anything."
With Lagares' return, the Mets have six outfielders on their 25-man roster. Manager Terry Collins, however, said he still feels comfortable with giving Lagares a majority of the time in center.
"I love the way he plays, with all the energy he brings and the way he's pretty much reckless in center field," Collins said. "What he's got to do [if he needs time off], is to come forth and say he needs a day."
Wright could be Mets' lone All-Star participant
PITTSBURGH -- David Wright was the only Met in the top five at his position in the latest All-Star balloting update, and the third baseman has a chance to be his team's lone representative at the 2014 Midsummer Classic.
If that ends up being the case, it will be the first time the Mets send just one player to the All-Star Game since 2003, when Armando Benitez was the club's sole representative on the National League roster.
Wright, a seven-time All-Star, entered Thursday hitting .278 with six homers, 40 RBIs and a .729 OPS this season. He sits in second place in the voting for third basemen, trailing the Brewers' Aramis Ramirez by just 19,007 votes.
Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com -- online or on a mobile device -- using the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian until Thursday, July 3, at 11:59 p.m. ET. The 2014 All-Star Game will be played at Target Field on Tuesday, July 15 on FOX.
• Wright carried a nine-game hitting streak into Thursday's opener against the Pirates. He was hitting .400 (14-for-35) in that span.
• The Mets are 10-13 in June and can match their May win total with one more victory.
Stephen Pianovich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.