MILWAUKEE — Todd Frazier’s latest steps toward a return from the disabled list were literal ones Thursday, as the Mets third baseman tested his strained left hamstring by running for the first time since getting hurt, then took batting practice on the field and fielded grounders. He did not appear to show any ill effects,
In the visitors’ clubhouse at Miller Park, meanwhile, Wilmer Flores — Frazier’s part-time replacement — took part in the regular hitters’ meeting in advance of the team’s series against the Brewers.
Flores found himself in the lineup Thursday as the starter at third for the sixth time in 13 games since Frazier landed on the DL. (He has started four more of those games at first.)
“I want Flo in there every day for the offensive component of it,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “We obviously need to score some runs right now. I want him to play as often as possible.”
With a .235/.315/.408 slash line heading into Thursday night’s game, Flores has provided about league-average offense, better than Callaway’s other options (Jose Reyes, Luis Guillorme) with Frazier out. Flores has struggled against lefthanded pitchers (.163/.245/.233) and excelled against righties (.291/.371/.545), a reverse of his career norms.
Callaway is wary of playing Flores too often because he gets tired. After starting eight straight games, Flores sat for two out of three against Miami this week.
“The thing about it is he hasn’t played a ton of games in a row in a long time, so when he plays three or four in a row he feels it,” Callaway said. “So we have to give him a day or two to recover and get him back in there. We have to build him up as he’s going along.”
Yoenis Cespedes (strained right hip flexor) joined Frazier in taking BP on the field for the first time in more than a week. He turned it up a notch in his last round, sending several moonshots to the upper levels of the empty ballpark, wowing teammates. There is no public time frame for the return of either Cespedes or Frazier . . . Juan Lagares had surgery Thursday to repair the complete tear of his left big toe plantar plate. He is expected to miss the rest of the season.