8/9/2014 12:13 A.M. ET
Flores to see more time at short down stretch
Collins says Nieuwenhuis also expected to see increased action
By Erik Bacharach / MLB.com
PHILADELPHIA -- An extra-innings loss to the division-leading Nationals on Thursday put the last seven weeks of the Mets' season in perspective. They will continue to fight for their playoff lives, but now they will do so with one eye on 2015.
Wilmer Flores and Kirk Nieuwenhuis will receive more playing time, Mets manager Terry Collins said before Friday night's game. The shift will come at the expense of Ruben Tejada and Chris Young.
Flores has been up and down from the Minors, and was most recently called up on July 24 after hitting .340 (36-for-106) with eight homers and 32 RBIs in 26 games at Triple-A Las Vegas.
But he's seen action in just seven of the Mets' 14 games since his return, and was hitting just .238 (5-for-21) over that stretch entering Friday.
"It happens," Flores said about not seeing regular playing time. "I just need to find a way. Try to find a way to get my swing back."
A more serious look at shortstop should help Flores.
"Everybody has said they think he's going to hit," Collins said. "Now, how much is he going to hit? Is he going to hit for power? Or is he going to hit for average? And the big question is: Is he going to be able to play the middle of the infield.
"Obviously he is not the prototypical, rangy shortstop, but he has shown a strong arm. He's shown good hands."
Tejada has hit only .225, leaving the door open for Flores, who has more upside with the bat.
"I think Ruben's played well this year. But Flo went down and was really [producing]," assistant general manager John Ricco said. "We want to see if Wilmer can do that at this level."
den Dekker promoted, C. Young designated
PHILADELPHIA -- Matt den Dekker continued to rake in Triple-A Las Vegas, leading the Mets' front-office staff to consider promoting him. den Dekker would likely get a call by Sept. 1 when rosters expand, but his play -- he led the Pacific Coast League with a .334 batting average -- warranted discussions of an earlier promotion.
On Friday night, all those talks, discussions and considerations came to fruition when the Mets recalled den Dekker. In a corresponding move, the team designated outfielder Chris Young for assignment.
"He's been outstanding at Las Vegas," Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said. "We needed a left-handed hitter in the outfield. At some point, you have to make a move."
"We've talked a lot about the way Matt's been playing," Mets assistant general manager John Ricco said. "We talk to these guys who get up and down and we say, go down and play well and you'll get your shot. We'll he's been doing that. ... He definitely has played into the conversation of let's give this guy a chance and see what he can do."
den Dekker struggled in his first opportunity this season, hitting just .156. A more glaring stat was his 13 strikeouts in 45 at-bats, but he has since made adjustments.
"One of the things that we've asked him to do that he's done well is cut down on the strikeouts," Ricco said. "The strikeout rate is definitely down this year and that was a big part of what was keeping him from having success up here."
With all the talk of the Mets giving younger players a chance as the season winds down, Ricco offered a disclaimer.
"We're still trying to win games and we're not just going to run somebody out there to evaluate at this level," he said. "It's not what we're here for.
"We're results-based. We want to win as many games as we can, but you also, from a front-office role, want to have as much information as you can to make good decisions. So you're constantly balancing that, especially at this time of the year."
The balance shifted away from Young, who proved to be an unsuccessful experiment. In 254 at-bats as a Met, Young hit .205 with eight homers and 28 RBIs.
"One of the reasons we got him is we knew he had some power," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "He's hit 30 homers before. We play in a tough park. He's pretty much a dead-pull hitter, and it makes it even tougher. We tried to give him opportunities to get it going. I told him, I feel terrible about it, but we're in a spot now where we want to see some young guys. We got to find some spots for them."
Young hit 32 homers for the D-backs in 2007 and 27 in '10. But the '14 version of Young looked more like what he displayed last season when he hit .200 with 12 homers in 335 at-bats for Oakland.
"He fit all of our check marks," Alderson said. "We were looking for a bounce-back from him and were willing to take a risk."
• A day after complaining of tightness in his right calf, closer Jenrry Mejia threw on flat ground before Friday night's game and was available to pitch, Collins said. Mejia picked up the save in a 5-4 victory.
• Jeremy Hefner was headed to New York this weekend to be evaluated by team doctors after a right forearm strain forced him out of his sixth rehab start.
"I can't confirm any type of injury at this point because he hasn't been seen [by doctors]," Ricco said. "He came out of the game and we put him on the DL."
Hefner left after just one inning in his start with Class A St. Lucie on Wednesday. He had Tommy John surgery last year because of a partially torn MCL in his right arm, and it's unclear if the injuries are related.
Erik Bacharach is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.