Wilmer Flores waits to catch an infield pop up during...

Wilmer Flores waits to catch an infield pop up during the fourth inning of a spring training game against the Washington Nationals. (March 8, 2009) Credit: AP

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Wilmer Flores no longer is a shortstop, and as he approaches his 21st birthday next month, he's not as young as he used to be.

Signed by the Mets' organization in 2007 during the Omar Minaya regime, Flores now is a player looking for a position, and he's been learning third base and second base on the fly.

If the Mets come up with the $100 million or so to keep David Wright, third base won't be available for a while. As for second, the Mets could use a righthanded hitter with some pop, but there's a question of when Flores will be ready.

Even though he's been part of the organization since age 16, he is getting anxious for a taste of the majors. "I just want to make it to the big leagues," said Flores, who went 0-for-2 and played five innings at third base for the World Team in Sunday's Futures Game. "I would love to play in New York because it's New York. If it's in Kansas City or Los Angeles -- I just want to play."

After playing a full season for Class-A St. Lucie last year, Flores started there again this season and hit .289 with 10 homers in 64 games before his promotion to Double-A Binghamton, where he's 23-for-59 (.390) with two homers and 11 RBIs in 16 games.

"I've been feeling pretty good," he said. "Having a plan of what I'm doing, and that helps."

With Flores and Zack Wheeler playing in the Futures Game on opposing sides, the teammates joked about potentially facing each other. Not that Flores was looking forward to it. Wheeler throws in the upper 90s, with a nasty array of breaking pitches.

That showdown never materialized, however, as Flores was long gone before Wheeler entered for the eighth inning.

"Oh my God, we talked about that when we were coming," Flores said in an interview before the game. "He was like, I'm just going to throw you fastballs. I don't believe it."


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