Before Omar Quintanilla had three hits Monday night, he had struggled at the plate, hitting .087 in his previous seven games. The Mets shortstop admitted that playing in all but one game in June caused some fatigue. Time for a break? Perhaps, manager Terry Collins said, but not here. Home is not a place of rest.

"I haven't thought about it that much, whether or not he's going to need a day or when it might be," Collins said. "But I think when we're at home, he'll play the games here."

"I'm worn down a little bit, but what can I do but go out and play?" said Quintanilla, who made his first start May 30 after being called up to replace Ruben Tejada, who suffered a quadriceps injury.

Infielder/outfielder Jordany Valdespin is the only other sort-of-shortstop on the roster now, and his experience at the position hasn't been pleasant.

"Valdy hasn't played there in a long time, so I don't want to put him in a situation where he's going to be embarrassed, especially here," Collins said. "If he does play there, it'll probably be on the road."

Valdespin played four games at shortstop last season and committed three errors there. In his minor-league career, he made 49 errors in 146 games at the position.

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Collins either wants to spare paying Mets fans from the sight or his 25-year-old utilityman from the reaction.

"I know he's a good athlete and I've seen him take ground balls [at shortstop]," Quintanilla said of Valdespin. "He looks pretty good. Transferring from second base, there's a little transition, but if he works at it, I don't think there'll be much of a problem."

If Collins sticks to his gut, Valdespin's first start at shortstop could come Friday in Milwaukee when the Mets begin a nine-game road trip leading up to the All-Star break.

"Let's do it!" Valdespin said of the possibility of moving over. "I just [have to] practice there. You feel comfortable if you work hard and practice the way you'd play in a game."

And what of the defensive issues there in the past?

"That's the game," he said. "You make some plays, and you'll make some errors, too. They give me a couple positions because they know I can do it."