With Yoenis Cespedes, Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce, and Michael Conforto all healthy and able to play the outfield, the Mets are looking to get creative to give them all as many at-bats as possible.
Mets manager Terry Collins spoke with reporters Tuesday morning and gave us a little insight as to what the team plans on doing to create more playing time for all their outfielders. One thing they will consider, according to Collins, is giving Jay Bruce some exposure at first base.
Collins noted that while they’re not going to “push it on him,” they will have him field ground balls at the corner infield spot during Spring Training.
Bruce has played only three games in his career at first base. Back in 2014 for the Cincinnati Reds he started those three games and committed two errors in just 26 innings on the field, so he’s going to need some work.
The idea of giving Bruce a little work at first can’t hurt, really. And with Lucas Duda coming back from another major injury last season, it’s a smart and safe play to have a backup not named James Loney in the mix in case he does go down again.
Also interesting to note this plan for Bruce is in direct contrast with how the manager feels about Conforto and his chances at playing first base.
On Monday, Collins expressed he’d prefer to keep Conforto in the outfield and have him concentrate on center and right field only. Having Bruce be able to play first opens up that right field spot for Conforto should the Mets intend to go with a sort of rotation-like lineup.
Don’t expect Bruce to be a main stay at first though. The Mets were clear that he’s their right fielder, so this news should be taken as simply another option in an attempt to make Mets players more versatile throughout the year.