Veteran Jay Bruce could add to versatility as Mets look to prepare for any worst case scenario
For the first time, Mets fans got a sample of what another backup option could consist of at first base. Jay Bruce got the start and played four innings in New York’s 2-1 win over Houston. With Lucas Duda coming off a major back injury, the Mets are taking more proactive steps this spring to have others ready just in case.
Bruce has not played the position much at all. He only had three games worth of experience back in 2014 with Cincinnati. Overall, the very first returns were good. With repetition at the position, we’ll see how good of a defender Bruce can turn into in what has now become his back-up spot.
The fact that Bruce is still on the roster has soured a lot of fans through the off-season after a poor showing at the plate after the Mets acquired him. However, being willing to learn a new position and possibly creating some more flexibility has to be commended. Bruce was brought here mainly because of his power, but this could turn into an added bonus in multiple facets.
Of course, we won’t be talking about Bruce at first during the regular season provided Duda stays healthy. And so far since his return, Duda has six hits in 19 at-bats, all of them going for extra bases (four doubles, two homers). At least there will be some potential comfort in knowing that in the worst-case scenario, the Mets have viable fallback options.
If Bruce shows he can handle the position, then it would also be a possible personal gain for him. It’s not difficult to imagine a scenario where Bruce could transition into being a first baseman (or at least see more time there) as he gets older.
With the regular season on the horizon, Bruce is locked into right field as the starter. This spring has been a time though to expand horizons and create potential options after the Mets were bit hard by the injury bug last season. At least if that happens again, Bruce and others waiting in the wings are currently or are working to be capable at handling multiple spots on the diamond.