WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Zack Wheeler’s simulated inning Monday wasn’t as notable as the player behind the plate. It was Phil Evans, who is putting the “super’’ in super-utility by adding catching to a repertoire that already includes the ability to handle every other position on the field. And now he apparently is thinking like a catcher, too, after being asked how it went with Wheeler.
“I blocked one,” Evans said proudly.
Evans, the Mets’ DH in a 2-0 loss to the Astros, went 2-for-2 and is hitting .300 (12-for-40) with three doubles and two homers in 18 Grapefruit League games.
Learning the position of catcher on the fly is not something that usually is done at this level, but the Mets didn’t approach Evans about doing it until 2 1⁄2 weeks before pitchers and catchers reported.
Evans has been working daily with catching instructor Glen Sherlock and played the position in three simulated games. He’s been told the Mets plan to get him into a Grapefruit League game but doesn’t know when.
“I’m taking advantage of every opportunity I’ve been given,” he said. “I’m pretty happy with it.”
Yo lets bat do talking
Yoenis Cespedes returned to the lineup Monday for the first time since getting a cortisone shot in his sore right wrist last week and went 1-for-3, a single. He also played six innings in leftfield but did not have any chances.
As for how the wrist responded, Cespedes issued a statement through a Mets spokesman rather than speak with reporters after the game.
“It feels great,” Cespedes said, as relayed by Mets media relations official Ethan Wilson. “Everything’s fine.”
The Mets will play Triple-A Las Vegas next Monday at 1 p.m. at First Data Field. Tickets are $5, with the proceeds to benefit the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life Event April 14. Fans will receive a voucher good for one ticket to St. Lucie’s Florida State League home opener April 5 against Bradenton.