Wilmer Flores’ newfound proficiency against righties might be earning him an extended role in the Mets’ lineup.
The righthanded-hitting utility infielder, batting .274 against righthanded pitchers going into Wednesday night, played third base and hit seventh against Brewers righty Junior Guerra. Terry Collins said Flores likely would play Thursday, too, against righthander Chase Anderson. Flores came in hitting .309 and leading qualified major-league hitters with a .387 batting average in May. He also had nine multi-hit games in 13 starts this month.
“I salute him,” Collins said. “He’s the one who said if I’m going to get playing time, I’ve got to hit righthanders, and he’s done that . . . (Coaches have) got him using the middle of the field a lot more, trying to go the other way, because they pitch Flo away.”
Jose Reyes’ hitting woes made the decision somewhat simple for Collins. Reyes’ average dipped to .197 after he went 0-for-5 Tuesday, extending his slump to 0-for-11.
“We trust him when he’s up there,” Collins said of Flores. “We think he’s going to put the ball in play when he’s got guys on. That makes him dangerous.”
Collins attributed Michael Conforto’s sustained success this year to going back to the basics. Conforto memorably hit .365 in April last year before enduring a mighty May swoon, a pattern he hasn’t replicated. “I thought last year after April, there was so much talk about all the home runs we were hitting and he was involved in that and I think he altered his swing such that he was trying to hit the ball in the air,” Collins said. “He’s not trying to do anything with it, he’s using the middle of the field. He’s got power to all fields. He’s settled into (the idea) that this swing works and he doesn’t need to change anything.” . . . The Mets on Friday will unveil newly renovated Shannon Dalton Forde Memorial Field in Little Ferry, New Jersey, in honor of the longtime Mets public relations executive who died of cancer last year at 44.