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Mets back in same spot with Wilmer Flores

Mets' Wilmer Flores tosses his bat as he

Mets' Wilmer Flores tosses his bat as he heads for first base during a spring training game against the Detroit Tigers at Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Fla. on Saturday, March 8, 2013. Photo Credit: Ernst Peters

MILWAUKEE -- Wilmer Flores will hit seventh and start at shortstop tonight when the Mets open a four-game set against the Brewers.

Manager Terry Collins said Ruben Tejada was held out “just as a precaution,” since he hasn’t reported symptoms in the aftermath of taking a 94 mph fastball to the helmet. Tejada is expected to start on Friday.

“I’m ready to play,” said Tejada, who has no endured any symptoms.

With Tejada seemingly ready to go, that leaves the Mets in a similar position with Flores, whose recall comes after his tear at Triple-A Las Vegas, where he had been playingevery day.

Collins said Flores’ latest tour with the Mets is expected to last more than just a few days.

“It’s going to be more than that,” Collins said. “We’re going to try to work him into the lineup as best we can and make sure he gets some at-bats, maybe split some time with Ruben, maybe give Dan a day off here and there, maybe have him play third base once in awhile. So, we’ll try to move him around.”

In short, Flores may find himself once again on the bench, not getting regular at-bats.

“Ruben’s played a lot better than the last time,” Collins said. “He’s done a nice job of handling the bat. I go back to the last homestand. This guy got as big a hit as anybody did for us. He’s playing well defensively. Had he not got hit in the head, I’m not sure we’d be talking about this today.”

Since he began his most recent stint with Triple-A Las Vegas on June 26, Flores hit .340/.374/.642 with eight homers and 32 RBIs in 26 games. He also had a 22-game hit streak. In that same span with the Mets, Tejada is hitting .236/.382/.264.

Nevertheless, Collins said he wants to avoid a disruption in the lineup, meaning Tejada will likely get the bulk of the playing time while Flores once again must deal with reduced at-bats.

Said Collins: “We’re playing pretty good and I’m trying to keep things from being disrupted as much as I can because I like the way things are going right now. The clubhouse is in pretty good shape as far as their mental approach.”

To make room for Flores, the Mets optioned Kirk Nieuwenhuis to Triple-A Las Vegas, leaving the team with five outfielders. Since he was promoted on June 19, Nieuwenhuis was hitting .256/.348/.538 despite only sporadic playing time.

“You reach a situation where there’s only certain guys you can move,” Collins said. “He was aware of that.”

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