New York Mets center fielder Austin Jackson (16) hits an...

New York Mets center fielder Austin Jackson (16) hits an RBI single against the Cincinnati Reds during the first inning at Citi Field on Monday, Aug 6, 2018. Credit: Brad Penner

Austin Jackson replaced the injured Yoenis Cespedes. He is not the replacement for Cespedes. But his early run with the Mets has paid some dividends.

Jackson was once termed the best 12-year-old player in the nation by Baseball America. Then the best 15-year-old. He was an eighth-round draft choice by the Yankees and initially thought to be their centerfielder of the future.

That never materialized as he was traded after the 2009 season to the Tigers as part of a deal for Curtis Granderson. Now, he’s 31 and trying to survive in the majors. The Rangers designated him for assignment in late July and the Mets picked him up.

"Honestly, I really didn't know what to expect,’’ he said Wednesday after going 3-for-5 with two doubles and three RBIs as the Mets beat the Reds, 8-0. "It's one of those things when your name is in the lineup you do your best to contribute to winning.’’

Jackson is 12-for-29 (.414) with two home runs and eight RBIs in 11 games with the Mets.

Mickey Callaway saw Jackson from the player's best years in Detroit. "I had to game-plan against them,’’ Callaway said. "He really stayed through the middle of the field, was hard to pitch to. It seems like he has that comfort level back where he’s really just comfortable in the box and swinging the bat with a really good approach and he's doing great for us.’’

Alonso’s hot in Vegas

First-base prospect Peter Alonso had a four-hit game, including a three-run homer, Tuesday night for Triple-A Las Vegas.    

Alonso, 23, is hitting  .247 with 12 homers and 47 RBIs in 43 games since his promotion from Double-A.  He has 27 homers and 99 RBIs with two minor-league teams.  He’s probably a September call-up when the big-league rosters expand.

Close encounters

Callaway is trying to get outfielders Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto to stay out of each other's way on fly balls. The two almost collided Tuesday night.

"We’ve had a couple of chats with them to make sure they're communicating the right way,’’ Callaway said. "They do need to yell loud and know the priority. They’re  trying to improve on it, we're working it, talking to them, they'll get better at it."

Nimmo said, “I’ve played every position a bunch this year. I’m versatile, [Conforto] is versatile. Austin is versatile, and Austin just got here a couple weeks ago. That being said, it’s a new ground. It’s new people. It’s every single time you go out there. There is something to be said for that, trying to still get a feel for each other’s boundaries."

With John Boell

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