In a completely unsubtle move, the Mets on Tuesday night started Neil Walker at first base for the first time in his career against the Rangers.
Showcase for a potential trade?
“I’m sure it is,” Walker said before donning a first-base mitt for the second time in a week and in his career.
Walker, the Mets Opening Day second baseman, played three innings at first on Aug. 2 after a double switch at Colorado.
“Even in spring training, I knew it was something I was willing to do and something that I may get asked to do over the course of the season,” Walker said. “Obviously, where we are and obviously speculation that a couple of us could be moved, for me it’s adding to things that I can do.”
The Yankees are among teams who could be looking for an upgrade at first as they wait for Greg Bird to return from ankle surgery. The Yankees are also waiting for second baseman Starlin Castro to return from a hamstring injury.
With rookie Amed Rosario getting a look at short, Jose Reyes started at second and Asdrubal Cabrera played third against Texas.
“It’s no secret that the young guy’s going to play shortstop every day for the rest of the year,” Walker said. “Between me, Cabby and Jose, we’re all bouncing around a little bit, especially those two between second and third.”
According to reports, Walker, Cabrera, Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson have all cleared waivers and can be traded if a match can be found. Bruce has an eight-team no trade clause. The Mets hold an $8.5 million option on Cabrera for 2018, but the other three are pending free agents.
Bruce returned to the lineup after missing two games with a stiff neck.