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Mets’ Juan Lagares injures shoulder in winter league game

Mets outfielder Juan Lagares at spring training in

Mets outfielder Juan Lagares at spring training in 2016. Photo Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

Centerfielder Juan Lagares arrived in New York yesterday to be seen by Mets team doctors after injuring his right shoulder while playing winter baseball in the Dominican Republic.

Playing for Aguilas Cibaeñas, Lagares hurt himself on Saturday while making a diving catch. Team doctors diagnosed him with a mild sprain, the club announced on Monday. Lagares is expected to be ready for spring training.

Lagares signed a four-year, $23-million contract extension early in 2015, a year after winning the Gold Glove in center. But his performance since has been diminished by injuries.

He spent 2015 working through an elbow problem that severely limited his throwing. In 2016, he partially tore ligaments in his left thumb that eventually forced him to undergo surgery. In both seasons, he was squeezed out of regular playing time.

Heading into 2017, Lagares is the best defensive outfielder on the roster. But he likely will split playing time with Curtis Granderson. Lagares hit .254/.292/.364 in 222 games the last two seasons.

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