Mets infielder Todd Frazier throws to first during spring training...

Mets infielder Todd Frazier throws to first during spring training on Feb. 18 in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Credit: AP/Jeff Roberson

In a surprise, Todd Frazier started at shortstop on Tuesday night in a rehab game for Single-A St. Lucie and played four innings at the position before moving to his familiar third-base spot.

Frazier, 33, has played three innings at shortstop in his big-league career. That came in two games for the Reds in 2011. Frazier handled three chances cleanly. Frazier also played short at Rutgers.

Frazier missed the start of the season because of a left oblique strain. When he is ready to return, the most likely option for the Mets would be to send Luis Guillorme to Triple-A Syracuse. That would leave manager Mickey Callaway without a backup shortstop. Hence, the four-inning experiment.

“We feel that just to maximize our roster if we need to have an extra pitcher or something like that, we have to have another guy that might be able to play short at some point,” Callaway said. “So we’re going to get him as many reps as possible there while still getting him prepared to come up and be a third baseman like he traditionally is.”

In Frazier’s absence, the Mets have been using Jeff McNeil and J.D. Davis at third base. Both were in the lineup on Tuesday night, with McNeil in leftfield.

Jed Lowrie, who is further behind Frazier, continued to take groundballs at Citi Field. Lowrie is out with a left knee capsule sprain.

"I don’t think we have a date or a week or anything like that in mind, but very encouraged,” Callaway said. “We see him out there taking ground balls today. We went out there and did some team defense stuff and he looks great. He’s moving around great. He’s going to his backhand really well. So his legs and everything seem to be underneath him. He feels great hitting. So definite progress. It’s probably too soon to speculate on any kind of a time frame for him.”

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