Mets centerfielder Brandon Nimmo is greeted in the dugout after...

Mets centerfielder Brandon Nimmo is greeted in the dugout after scoring against the Royals during the first inning of an MLB game at Citi Field on Saturday. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Brandon Nimmo — one of the fastest Mets — is not, has never been and probably never will be much of a base-stealer. He long since has come to terms with that.

But his philosophy has a new wrinkle this year: Maybe his position change means there is more room to run.

He and outfield/baserunning coach Antoan Richardson are thinking that with Nimmo playing mostly leftfield instead of center, the workload on his legs won’t be as high. So perhaps Nimmo, always wary of overburdening his body, will have more opportunities to steal, and a greater degree of comfort in trying to do so.

“Ultimately, we’re trying to see if we can expand on it,” Nimmo said. “Those are some of the things I’m thinking about. It sounds good in theory. Yes, it does sound like I’ll have less mileage, so maybe there will be more opportunity for chances and I’ll feel better. That all sounds good in my head right now. And so that’s why I’m like, yeah, we’ve got a plan.

“But I don’t know how it’s going to translate into the season. That is something that should play in our favor. I’m anxious to see how it’s going to go.”

Anxious is probably the right word. Nimmo stole one base early this month — his first in nearly a year — and would have had a second if not for an umpire interference call. But then he tweaked his right hamstring, which underscored his fear: He could get hurt trying to swipe a bag. And that extra 90 feet is not worth him missing any games.

“It’s a topic that is kind of give and take,” said Nimmo, who stole a career-high nine bases in 2018. “If we feel like we can get a little more out of it and not be a detriment to the team or to myself, then we’ll do that. But it’s going to be a feel thing as we go throughout the season.”


Richardson, in his first season with the Mets, said: “When you look at Nimmo in terms of athlete and the sprint speeds, you definitely feel like there is some room there to steal a couple more bags, especially with the rules of the game favoring stolen bases. We’re going to look for every opportunity to take advantage of his athletic ability.”

This was a topic at this time last year, too. He came out hot, stealing three bases in his first 10 games, matching his total from the entire season year. But then he got caught at second in a key late-game moment against the Tigers in early May.

Nimmo didn’t even try again for nearly three months. After the Cardinals' battery of Miles Mikolas and Andrew Knizner ruined his attempt in mid-August, he decided to just call it a year on attempting to steal.

His season total: three steals as of April 10, none after that.

“They’d given us some stat that the catcher was like 0-for-his-last-8 and the pitcher was a good steal. OK, great,” Nimmo said. “So I went and he happens to throw an up-and-away fastball and a perfect throw [from the catcher] and I’m done. You know what, forget it. We’re in August now. It’s fine. That’s my sign to shut it down.”

Now, Nimmo and Richardson go over before the game which pitchers might be good to steal against so that he is prepared if he and his legs feel up to it. When merited, Richardson — also the first-base coach — will remind Nimmo of their game plan when he reaches base.

“More opportunities, we’re hoping, translates into more success,” Richardson said.

Notes & quotes: The Mets and Pirates all wore No. 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day. Rachel Robinson, Jackie’s 101-year-old widow, participated in a pregame on-field ceremony . . . MLB selected Pete Alonso as the NL Player of the Week. He batted .429 with a 1.603 OPS and four homers in six games last week . . . Tylor Megill (right shoulder strain) said he plans to start throwing off a mound by the end of the week. He is penciled in to make three rehab starts, so he still is weeks away from returning . . . Manager Carlos Mendoza said regarding days of rest for Francisco Lindor, who prides himself on playing every game: “He’s never going to want to come out of the lineup, but there’s going to be times where I’m going to have to say ‘You’re off tomorrow.’ But I don’t think we’re there yet.” . . . Kodai Senga, seeking to contribute while sidelined by a shoulder injury, invited everybody to a team dinner at a Japanese restaurant in Manhattan on Sunday. How was it? “Awesome,” he said in English.


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