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Jordany Valdespin playing way into everyday spot for Mets


PORT ST. LUCIE, FL. FRIDAY FEBRUARY 22, 2013. NY Mets' Jordany Valdespin tries to steal third base during today's intra-squad game in Port St. Lucie, Fl. Credit: Alejandra Villa

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- If Jordany Valdespin can bring his spring success into the regular season, he may find himself a spot as an everyday outfielder.

"It depends on his bat," general manager Sandy Alderson said. "I think he can handle the outfield. It's a question of how much he contributes with the bat."

Valdespin is hitting .348/.388/.609 with four homers and nine RBI in 15 spring training games. Alderson said similar production in the regular season would be enough for the Mets to play him regularly in the outfield.

Said Alderson: "It's tough to keep him out of the lineup."

With 10 days remaining until Opening Day, the Mets' outfield remains a work in progress. Though the Mets appear to have a handle on which players should break camp with the team, they still have decisions to make as far as playing time.

"I think we've got a sense of who the five or six are who might be on the team," Alderson said. "How exactly they're used is something that we'll talk about over the next week or so. What we have is what we're going to have and we're not entirely displeased with that. Some guys have stepped up. Marlon Byrd's played pretty well. [Collin] Cowgill's played pretty well. Valdespin's been solid. We know what [Mike] Baxter can do."

Lucas Duda (.256/.319/.536) appears likely to begin the season in left field, while Byrd has done little to lose his spot in right field. Manager Terry Collins said early in camp that Byrd could handle duties in right field on his own instead of platooning with the lefthanded-hitting Baxter, who has hit just .152/.293/.152 in spring training.

In center field, the righthanded hitting Cowgill (.311/.380/.578) has emerged as one of the surprises of spring training. But so has the lefthanded-hitting Valdespin, who is athletic enough to play center.

Regardless of how the outfield shakes out, Alderson seems confident that the Mets have enough choice in-house to begin the season with players already in camp.

Said Alderson: "We're going to go with the guys we have."

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