The Mets lineup for tonight’s game was just released. And Juan Lagares is not in it. Eric Young is playing center. For the fourth time in five games. Oh, and Bobby Abreu is in the lineup. Not Lagares, though!
This despite the fact that Lagares is not injured. This despite the fact that Lagares is easily the Mets’ best defensive center fielder. Heck, he may be the best defensive center fielder in the game. This despite the fact that he’s also the Mets’ best offensive center fielder too, hitting .296/.336/.439. This, most notably, despite the fact that Terry Collins said earlier this month that Lagares is his every day center fielder. To this I say:
Why isn’t Lagares starting? Does anyone plan on asking Terry Collins about it today? How about asking Jon Neise how he feels about the team’s best outfielder being benched in favor of defensive whiz Bobby Abreu?
Inquiring minds want to know.
Not all players coming in to spring training are in The Best Shapes of Their Lives. Some have put on a few pounds, such as Miguel Sano, notes Twins GM Thad Levine:
Sano has been given medical clearance to engage in all baseball workouts with his teammates, his surgically reinforced left shin now completely healed, though the Twins intend to lighten his schedule to prevent any new injuries.
They’d like to lighten something else, too: His “generous carriage,” as General Manager Thad Levine delicately put it last week. Sano’s conditioning understandably lags, after a winter largely spent incapacitated by the surgery.
Sano’s conditioning has often been a topic of conversation among the members of the Minnesota press corps, though not always in good faith. For example, last year when Sano injured his shin by fouling a ball off of it, one member of the The Fourth Estate found a way to make a column out of blaming the freak injury on Sano’s conditioning. At least in this instance his colleague is correctly noting that the poor conditioning is a result of the injury and not the cause.
Still, it’s just another issue facing Sano this spring. He’s out of shape, coming off of an injury, and — not that he’s due any sympathy for it — he’s facing a likely suspension arising out of the allegations of sexual assault leveled against him late last year.
So this spring we’ll be seeing more of Sano, it seems. At least until that time we’ll be seeing less of him.