Juan Uribe, making a rare start at second base, didn't live up to Terry Collins' expectations.
"The expectations are that he's going to get three hits and catch every ground ball that's hit to him," Collins said sarcastically before the Mets defeated the Red Sox, 5-4, on Sunday.
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Uribe had only two hits. And he couldn't get to one of the three ground balls hit to him . . . but he did dive and get a glove on it!
Acquired by the Mets in a trade with Atlanta in July, Uribe made one start at second base this season with the Braves. Before that, he hadn't started at second since 2011.
Uribe has started 871 games at shortstop and 497 at third base, but Sunday marked only the 194th time in his 15-year career that he was penciled in as the starting second baseman. And out of all those games, Collins hadn't seen any. Which is why he was asked about his expectations and answered facetiously.
Uribe got the start there Sunday because David Wright was back at third base and because they were facing a lefthanded pitcher in Wade Miley. Collins said Uribe didn't play first base -- regular second baseman Daniel Murphy did -- simply because "he doesn't like to play first." (He has started one game at the position and played there in four games.)
Noah Syndergaard induced seven ground balls through the first three innings, but not one was hit to Uribe at second. He finally got an opportunity in the fifth when Blake Swihart hit a soft grounder and again in the sixth when Pablo Sandoval did the same.
In the seventh, Swihart hit a grounder into the hole between first and second. Uribe ranged to his left and dived to knock the ball down with his glove but couldn't hold on as Swihart legged out an infield single.
"You know those big guys like him, people don't think they're very athletic," Collins said of the 6-foot, 245-pound Uribe, who was not available to the media after the game. "He's a pretty good athlete. He almost made a great play on that ball to his left today."
Uribe went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored. His two-run double to straightaway centerfield, which hit off the bottom of the wall in the deepest part of the ballpark, gave the Mets a 3-2 lead in the sixth inning.
"Offensively, he's very dangerous," Collins said. "He can hit a homer, he can get a big hit."
Despite that, and Uribe's ability to play multiple positions, Collins said he is even more valuable off the field than he is on it.
"His contribution on the field is something, but his major contribution is in that clubhouse," he said. "I'm telling you, we're going to walk back in there right now and he's going to be having something to eat and there is going to be seven players sitting around him having fun, laughing. And that's what he brings.
"He keeps it loose, he keeps it positive, and yet he has the ability to tell them -- because he's been there, this guy's got two rings and he's been there -- so he can tell these guys how to go about it and what's expected when they take the field, and they listen to him. So his contribution in the clubhouse is huge."
And he plays a decent second base, too.