PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) — The New York Mets signed outfielder Scott Hairston during the offseason hoping he could provide some pop off the bench.
He’s already providing the pop.
Hairston, who signed a one-year deal in January, homered twice in an intrasquad game Friday, giving manager Terry Collins some early confidence in his offense and the depth he could have in the outfield.
“Obviously Scott Hairston showed us exactly why we brought him here,” Collins said. “He hit the ball out of the ballpark, and he plays center. Now he is a Met and he’s still beating the Mets. He beat the Mets on the other side of the field.”
The 30-year-old Hairston batted .210 last year with San Diego but had 10 doubles, 10 home runs, 36 RBIs and 34 runs scored in 104 games. Over the last three years, he has 44 home runs.
Hairston said he hopes his performance Friday is a sign of more to come, but he isn’t too caught up on numbers just yet.
“I think the main thing in spring training is feeling good,” Hairston said. “You have all that time off in the offseason, and I think this time you want to get your swing down, you want to get your timing down and you want to make sure you see the ball good. I think that’s basically what spring training is for. It’s not always for putting up numbers because really they don’t count for much.”
Hairston and Willie Harris are expected to fill backup roles in the outfield. Both are proven defensive players, but what they can do with their bat will be important as well.
“I hope I can fulfill that role,” Hairston said. “That’s where I am now. I’m not thinking too much about my role yet. I just try to prepare myself, and a lot can change now from the start of the season, so I just focus on my preparation everyday.”
Though the Mets are aware of what Hairston can do, after watching him rob them of a few big hits in the past, he said he still has to prove himself on a new team. This is his fourth team in eight seasons.
“As a player you are always trying to prove yourself, no matter who you are, and I think coming to a new team that doesn’t know much about you, you want to prove yourself even more, and you want to show them what you can do,” Hairston said.