NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) – Introducing the Mets’ 2011 starting second baseman: Luis… Hernandez?
Not thrilled with his four-headed choice for second base, Mets manager Terry Collins is “preparing” to name Hernandez, a relative unknown, as his opening day starter, according to the New York Post.
“The move will be contingent upon Collins convincing the front office to find roster space for Hernandez,” reported the paper.
Hernandez, 26, appeared in 17 games for the Mets last year before being shut down in September after breaking a toe. This spring, the youngster is hitting .417 (5-for-12).
Collins declared last month that he would be looking for an offense-minded player in that spot, and Luis Castillo, New York’s second baseman under Jerry Manuel, has not hit — since 2009.
In the final year of a four-year, $25 million contract, Castillo didn’t do anything special to help himself stand out this spring. Neither did the other three.
Castillo was trying to beat out Brad Emaus, a winter-meeting draft pick who spent last season in the Blue Jays minor league system; Daniel Murphy, who lost his starting job at first base to Ike Davis after an injury last year; and Justin Turner, who was claimed off waivers from Baltimore last year and spent most of the season in Triple-A Buffalo. Hernandez was hardly even on the radar.
“Last year was tough for me,” Castillo said last week. “I got to show them I can still play. If I don’t make the team I don’t know what I am going to do.”
The Mets will have some details to iron out once Hernandez is named the starting second baseman.
Castillo is owed $6 million this year, and Emaus was a Rule 5 selection, which would require the Mets to offer him back to Toronto if he doesn’t remain on the major league roster this season.
LISTEN: Boomer & Carton celebrate the end of Luis Castillo
Murphy, considered the favorite by many, was playing his fourth position in five years and might be better suited for a utility role.
He struggled as an outfielder in 2009 and moved to first base where he was set to start last season before suffering a right knee sprain at the end of spring training.
Former first-round draft pick Ike Davis secured first base while Murphy was on the disabled list, forcing Murphy to try second.
In just his second game playing the position in Triple-A Buffalo in June, he ended up with a season-ending tear of the medial collateral ligament in that same knee.
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