On-Base Perception

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Wilmer Flores among Mets' latest cuts

Wilmer Flores catches a ground ball during spring

Wilmer Flores catches a ground ball during spring training baseball practice on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014. (Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa)

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Wilmer Flores found himself among the latest round of cuts on Monday. Flores was optioned along with infielder Zach Lutz, and outfielders Matt den Dekker, Kirk Nieuwenhuis.

At Triple-A Las Vegas, Flores will see more playing time at second base and shortstop, where he will serve as the Mets’ Plan B in case Ruben Tejada suffers an injury or struggles at the start of the season.

"I feel like I did a great job," Flores told reporters. "Now, I just wait for the opportunity to come again."

Scouts have been skeptical about Flores’ range at shortstop. But the Mets have recently been more open-minded about giving him an extended audition. One official even floated the notion of Flores starting on Opening Day before Tejada’s recent hot streak at the plate.

Flores played four spring training games at shortstop, where he hadn’t seen regular action since 2011.

Back in the saddle

Jonathon Niese will throw off a mound on Monday for the first time since undergoing an MRI exam that revealed inflammation in his left elbow.

“He’s had no problems whatsoever,” pitching coach Dan Warthen said.

Niese will likely begin the season on the disabled list though he would be eligible to return by April 6. He is slated to pitch in a minor league game on Thursday.

Return engagement

Reliever Kyle Farnsworth is expected to sign a minor-league deal with the Mets on Tuesday. He was released on Sunday, a procedural move that saved the Mets from paying him a $100,000 bonus.

Farnsworth had been on the bubble to make the bullpen, partly because his fastball velocity has lingered in the low 90s.

New addition

Following what has become a trend around the game, the Mets have hired an assistant hitting coach.

Luis Natera will join the big league staff this season after spending the last seven years as the hitting coach in Double-A Binghamton. Natera is entering his 24th season in the organization.

Lineup

The Mets gave first baseman Ike Davis an off day after playing in four straight games. Otherwise, the Mets will use something that resembles their projected Opening Day lineup against the Cardinals:

Eric Young Jr. LF
Daniel Murphy 2B
David Wright 3B
Curtis Granderson RF
Chris Young CF
Lucas Duda 1B
Travis d’Arnaud C
Daisuke Matsuzaka RHP
Ruben Tejada SS

Tags: Wilmer Flores , Mets , Kyle Farnsworth , spring training , Jon Niese

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