James Loney, who was acquired on Saturday from San Diego for cash considerations, arrived in the Mets’ clubhouse Monday and is expected to be activated for tonight’s game against the White Sox. The veteran lefthanded hitter, who was released in spring training by Tampa Bay before signing a minor-league contract with the Padres, hit .342 with two home runs and 28 RBIs for Triple-A El Paso.
With Lucas Duda (lower back stress fracture) on the disabled list, Loney figures to fill the hole at first base along with backup infielder Wilmer Flores, who played first in Monday’s 1-0 win over the White Sox.
“Hopefully he does what we expect him to do, and that is give us solid at-bats and play great defense,” manager Terry Collins said of a player he knew when they were in the Dodgers’ organization.
Loney is looking forward to reuniting with Collins and said he likes the fit.
“Over the years, I’ve seen him at different periods of time, and to come to this team, you can just tell the energy here is great, the vibe,” Loney said. “To be defending NL champs is big. You want to be in the right situation, and I really feel like this is the right situation.”
The Mets rested lefthanded-hitting outfielders Curtis Granderson and Michael Conforto against White Sox lefthander Jose Quintana, but Collins said Conforto has been taking fly balls in rightfield and could shift from his usual leftfield position in the future when Granderson needs a day off. Granderson has played in 48 of the Mets’ first 50 games . . . Noah Syndergaard, who was ejected in the third inning Saturday night against the Dodgers, will be available for an inning of relief tonight and still will be ready for his scheduled turn Friday night in Miami . . . Collins said he has yet to hear from MLB about any further punishment related to the ejections of Syndergaard and himself in that game . . . Neil Walker’s homer in the Mets’ 1-0 win marked the 10th straight game and 14th in the past 15 in which they have hit a homer . . . Rookie third baseman Ty Kelly recorded his first MLB hit with a two-out single in the fifth inning.