PHILADELPHIA - After a spate of errors unleashed another round of hand-wringing about his merits as the Mets' everyday shortstop, Wilmer Flores' glove has been steady. His bat, however, has dried up once more.
Mets manager Terry Collins believes that Flores' focus on defense might be having an effect on his offense.
"This guy's got a lot on his plate," Collins said before Saturday night's 3-2 win over the Phillies. "He's got a lot of things he's got to do. First and foremost, he's concerned about making sure that he's playing shortstop as adequately as he can."
Flores is hitting just .107 (3-for-28) in his last nine games. He was replaced in the lineup by Ruben Tejada, who singled in the second inning and doubled in the fifth, all before starting a game-saving double play in the eighth.
Tejada will start again Sunday, though at second base to give Dilson Herrera a breather.
"He's kept himself ready to go every day," Collins said of Tejada. "This is the hardest I've seen him work. He wants to get back in there a lot."
When the Mets didn't land a shortstop this winter, they turned to Flores. Even with a lack of range for the position, the Mets hoped that Flores would hit enough to justify the trade-off.
However, Flores is hitting just .229. His .654 OPS ranks 10th among 13 qualifying shortstops in the National League. But Collins insisted that Flores will eventually find his way at the plate.
"I still think the bat's going to play," he said. "And play big."
Due to concerns about his workload, Collins stayed away from using closer Jeurys Familia in the eighth inning, with the bases loaded and the Mets clinging to a one-run lead. Familia entered in the ninth to record his 12th save . . . Along with Herrera, catcher Kevin Plawecki will get a day off for Sunday's series finale. Though the Mets have three catchers with Johnny Monell on the roster, Collins said Anthony Recker will get the start.