After spending just a little more than the minimum time on the disabled list, Mets’ outfielder Juan Lagares is set to return to the field on Thursday night and play against the Colorado Rockies.
At the time of Lagares’ injury, he was posting an impressive .313/.345/.470 slash line to go with five extra base hits and seven RBI’s in 51 at-bats. He was also, of course, playing the sparkling defense that we’re all accustomed to seeing. Lagares was doing everything right. With the start he was off to, it was a shame he had to go on the DL with a hamstring injury.
So, can he pick up where he left off?
Lagares will now have to readjust himself and get caught up to speed while trying to play catch up. He may have to prove his worth again and he will also have to ward of Eric Young Jr. and Chris Young for playing time. At this point, Mets’ manager Terry Collins will have four guys (not even including Bobby Abreu) playing for three spots in the outfield.
They say you should never lose playing time when you’re injured and that should certainly apply here with Lagares. Even if he wasn’t hitting well, Lagares should still be starting based on his ability to cover center fielder like few in the game can. At this point, it’s an added bonus that he was hitting well.
We should all be interested to see if Lagares can keep up his offensive numbers, because Lagares had looked like a different player at the plate this year. His approach was solid, as he was swinging mostly at balls in the strike zone. If Lagares can keep up that consistency at the plate it will go a long way in enriching the Mets so-far meager offense.
Thus far, the Mets rank 28th in the majors in batting average (.220), 23rd in on-base percentage (.300) and last in slugging (.319). It’s a wonder the Mets are four games over .500 with this offense. It goes to show how far great pitching can take you.
Obviously, Lagares will not and should not be considered the Mets’ offensive savior, but it would be nice if he picks up where he left off and gives the team the boost he’s capable of doing. He will certainly not make the Mets’ offense any worse.
Here’s hoping Lagares can quickly get back into the groove of things.
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