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Luis Guillorme changes plate approach, earns spot as utility infielder 

New York Mets infielder Luis Guillorme during a

New York Mets infielder Luis Guillorme during a split-squad scrimmage on Feb. 22, 2019, in Port St. Lucie, FL. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Luis Guillorme spent the offseason and spring training practicing how he plays, and it appears to have paid off with a roster spot.

A shortstop who also can play second and third base, Guillorme is the last utility infielder left in the Mets’ major-league camp, combining his routinely sharp defense with what manager Mickey Callaway described as a better-than-expected showing at the plate. He’s penciled in as a backup at all three positions heading into the regular season.

Callaway attributed Guillorme’s improved offense (.371/.476/.571 this spring) to a change Guillorme made in the way he works out.

Last season, Guillorme spent batting practice trying to lift and pull the ball, which in theory means more power. It didn’t work. Guillorme had a .239 slugging percentage in sporadic major-league time and a .417 slugging mark in Triple-A.

Guillorme realizes now that he was trying to be a kind of hitter he simply is not.

“I was probably not doing it the right way,” he said.

This spring training, lefthanded-hitting Guillorme has tried to go to all fields in BP, particularly to leftfield.

“So far it’s working out, I’m really happy with the results,” he said. “I’m driving the ball more to both sides — especially the other way, where I used to just serve the ball that way. Now I’m driving it. I feel more comfortable on the inner half of the plate now, too.”

Said Callaway: “He’s trying to do that in batting practice, make sure he stays through the ball and drives the ball the other way. He can still pop one every now and again, if he pulls a mistake [pitch]. But he’s taking the same approach in batting practice that he would in a game.”

Mets sign Tejada

Another former Met rejoined the organization Saturday: infielder Ruben Tejada, who signed a minor-league contract and will report to extended spring training.

Originally signed by the Mets out of Panama when he was 16, Tejada has played in parts of eight seasons in the majors, including 2010-15 with the Mets. He had a .251/.325/.318 career slash line.

Tejada became something of a Mets fan favorite when a Chase Utley slide into second base broke Tejada’s leg during the 2015 NLDS. The Mets cut Tejada the following spring.

Last year, Tejada slashed .230/.291/.298 for Baltimore’s Triple-A team.

Extra bases

When the Mets leave for Sarasota on Sunday and Syracuse on Monday, Steven Matz and Jason Vargas will stay in Port St. Lucie. They’ll each pitch in a minor-league setting as their final preseason outing before joining the team in Washington, D.C., for the opening series . . . Noah Syndergaard again will avoid the Nationals, pitching in a minor-league game Sunday instead of in the Mets’ Grapefruit League home finale against Washington. Callaway said minor-leaguers will pitch in Syndergaard’s stead . . . Pete Alonso went 3-for-5 with three runs scored in the Mets’ 12-2 win against the Braves Saturday. He is batting .375 with a 1.044 OPS in the Grapefruit League . . . Ronny Mauricio, 17, went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored as a designated hitter for the second day in a row.

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