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Red-hot Wilmer Flores not in Mets starting lineup

Wilmer Flores of the New York Mets connects

Wilmer Flores of the New York Mets connects on a fifth inning three run home run against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field on Thursday, July 7, 2016. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Despite hitting .526 (10-for-19) with five homers and 10 RBIs in his previous five games and one day removed from a three-run homer, Wilmer Flores was not in Friday night’s starting lineup against Washington righthander Stephen Strasburg. He later got in at first base and doubled in the eighth.

“Tonight and tomorrow, pretty tough tasks for certain righthanders to face these two guys, but Wilmer’s going to get plenty of playing time,” manager Terry Collins said. “He’s going to get plenty of at-bats. Hopefully he stays as hot as he is, which we know is a lot to ask to stay that hot, but I think he’s evolved immensely.”

Collins went with an infield of all lefthanded or switch hitters — James Loney, Neil Walker, Asdrubal Cabrera and Jose Reyes. But Collins said he views Flores, who has made 37 of his 53 starts at third base, as an everyday player if he continues to be a consistent hitter.

Flores entered the game at first base in the fifth inning as part of a double switch, removing Loney, after Noah Syndergaard left with “arm fatigue.” Flores went 1-for-2 with a double.

“He’s been absolutely our star player the way he’s come through, and we hope that it continues,” Collins said, “and when you have that kind of confidence, you’re dangerous.”

Verrett replaces Harvey

With Matt Harvey sidelined because he’s chosen to have season-ending surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome, Logan Verrett finds himself with an opportunity to prove himself as a major-league starting pitcher.

The 26-year-old made four spot starts for the Mets last season and has five starts this year. He has a 3.80 ERA in 41 games in his career.

“I know I’m not Matt Harvey, I’m Logan Verrett,” he said. “My job is to pitch, and however I can get in there and help the team, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.”

Verrett is scheduled to pitch Saturday against Washington’s Max Scherzer.

Cabrera’s homer-happy

Cabrera hit his 12th home run of the season and second in as many days on a 3-and-2 slider up in the zone to cut the Mets’ deficit to 3-1 in the fifth inning Friday night. It was Cabrera’s fourth home run this month.

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