Mets centerfielder Travis Jankowski looks on from the dugout during...

Mets centerfielder Travis Jankowski looks on from the dugout during the first inning against the Cardinals in Game 1 of an MLB doubleheader at Citi Field on May 17. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

MIAMI — The Mets’ acquisition of Tyler Naquin from the Reds on Thursday night meant the removal from the roster of an early-season sparkplug on Friday.

Travis Jankowski was designated for assignment as Naquin joined the team for the start of a weekend series against the Marlins. As much as the Mets view Naquin as a backup-outfielder upgrade — that is why they traded a pair of minor-leaguers for him plus lefthanded reliever Phillip Diehl — the conversation with Jankowski was not a happy one for manager Buck Showalter, who took a liking to him from his first day in spring training.

Showalter said he hopes Jankowski remains with the Mets. That would mean accepting an assignment to the minors.

“I have a soft spot for anybody wearing our uniform,” Showalter said. “I hope it’s to be continued. We’ll see. It’s like what Billy [Eppler, the general manager] told him, we want what’s best for him and his family, too. He’s going to head back to Pennsylvania and the next 72 hours will give an idea of what direction his career and life takes. We hope it’s with us again.”

The star of Stony Brook’s 2012 College World Series team, Jankowski was a speed-and-defense type who signed a minor-league contract in March and wound up winning a job on the Opening Day roster. But Jankowski didn’t provide much offensively, hitting .167 with a .286 OBP and no extra-base hits in 54 at-bats.

Hence, Naquin. He is a much better hitter, especially against righthanders, compiling a .246/.305/.444 slash line overall with Cincinnati this season. Showalter said the Mets like his ability to play all three outfield spots and that he is a good defender, thrower and baserunner.

“He brings some things that all clubs need,” he said. “Just another piece that we can maneuver and present a tough lineup.”

Newsday LogoSUBSCRIBEUnlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months