Mets third baseman Luis Guillorme throws to first base to...

Mets third baseman Luis Guillorme throws to first base to put out the Rockies' Brian Serven in the seventh inning of a game on Sunday in Denver. Credit: David Zalubowski

SAN FRANCISCO — On one of the many recent occasions when he has found his name in the Mets’ lineup, Luis Guillorme went up to the man who put it there, Buck Showalter, and cracked: “Maybe I’ve been playing too much.”

He ostensibly is a bench player, a role nobody prefers but he has gotten used to over the years — and, particularly recently, excelled at. Becoming the most regular of the “regular irregulars,” as Showalter calls his backups, Guillorme played in all of the Mets’ past seven games (and started five) heading into their series against the Giants that began Monday.

In that stretch, he hit .556 (10-for-18) and provided his usual smooth defense when playing second base, third base and shortstop.

“He knows who he is. He’s capable of a lot of things. He’s a valuable guy for us because he can do so many things,” said Showalter, who has made his Guillorme fandom clear since early in spring training. “He doesn’t take himself too seriously. But Luis is a big part of our club because it’s hard to find people who can do what he does at different positions.”

Now in his fifth season in the majors, Guillorme is well on his way to surpassing the career high for games played he set last year (69). His place on the roster under Showalter and general manager Billy Eppler is secure after years of occasionally being the odd man out, squeezed back to the minors.

His average (.338) and OPS (.857) were tops on the team entering the week among those with at least 75 plate appearances.

“You’re always ready for [playing more frequently]. It’s what everybody wants to do. [Showalter] has given me the chance, and I’ve done what I have to do whenever I go out there,” Guillorme said. “I’ve been in this situation my whole career, coming off the bench, and I got a chance and I’ve done the best I can with it. So I’m going to keep trying to do that.”

 

A key to his offensive success, he said, has been maintaining his swing, which can be difficult without consistent at-bats. He made some technical changes — including changing the positioning of his hands — that have left him feeling good, even when he hasn’t gotten positive results, such as when he started the season 0-for-12.

“I’m able to repeat my swing, whether it’s three days in a row playing or three days of not playing,” he said. “I feel like I’m having consistent at-bats, I’m working the counts, I’m getting good pitches to hit. So far it’s been good. And it’s repeatable. That’s really the main thing about it.”

That Guillorme has done well as a part-time-or-most-of-the-time player is partially a testament to his and the Mets’ versatility. He has made two starts at shortstop, three at third and 14 at second. But those haven’t meant first-string second baseman Jeff McNeil is forced to the bench. McNeil’s ability to seamlessly move between second and leftfield — himself fielding and hitting about as well as any member of the Mets — has created more opportunity for Guillorme.

Usually when he plays, Guillorme is Francisco Lindor’s double-play partner. And other times, such as Sunday, when his hit-preventing, run-saving, inning-ending snag wasn’t even his favorite play of the day, he is on Lindor’s opposite side at third.

“It’s fun. I know he’s going to cover a lot of ground. He’s another shortstop out there, so I gotta communicate a lot more with him,” Lindor said. “I’m super-happy for him. I’m proud of him. He has embraced his role and he’s helping us win. Every team needs a player like that. And he’s doing it.”