Monday, December 05, 2022

Canoe to try first base again as Mets experiment in spring

Port ST. Lucy, Fla. ( Associated Press) – Robinson Canoe is ready to take another swing at first base.

A second baseman in his entire career, Cano is set to play for the first time in spring training on Thursday as the New York Mets experiment with options that can put his bat in the lineup on occasion.

Canoe, 39, has played 2,158 games at second base during his 16-year major league career. His only experience for the first time was 14 games with the Seattle Mariners in 2018.

“They’re going to do some things with him tomorrow morning so it’s not cold turkey,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said Wednesday night.

Jeff McNeil has been appointed as New York’s primary second baseman this season. Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith top the depth charts first, while Canoe often fits in as designated hitters – which are adopted into the National League this year.

But the Mets are looking for defensive insurance and other ways to bat for Canoe, a .303 career hitter with 334 home runs and 2,624 hits.

He sat out the entire 2021 season, serving his second suspension for performance-enhancing drugs.

“He’s still going to play some second base, but he’s very excited to be back with the team and in a position to contribute,” Showalter said.

The new Mets manager said it’s important to keep people in different positions at this time of year.

Utility fielder Luis Guillorme played third base in Tuesday night’s 10-0 win over the Miami Marlins. Eduardo Escobar, an All-Star third baseman with Arizona last year, was at second base Wednesday night against Houston.

“Just because you’re a fielder doesn’t mean you’re going to be comfortable in any (position),” Showalter said. “We’re trying to give them a different angle, a different look before we leave.”

New York opens the season on April 7 in Washington.

Back from left oblique issue, newcomer Starling Marte is ticketed to right field, even though he never played in the majors. Marte, 33, won two Gold Gloves in left field with Pittsburgh (2015-16) and spent a lot of time in the center.

“It’s a good fit for us,” Showalter said. “It is difficult for us to play the right field. If Starling gets used to it, I think he’ll figure it out.

“We’re already adjusting to the strength of his arm. We’re starting to notice that he can do (things) that normal people don’t. … Some really entertaining things he’s done this year There’s going to be a throw.”

Leadoff hitter Brandon Nimmo will remain in center field, with newcomer Mark Canha to the left.

“(Nimmo) one in three guys able to play there,” Showalter said. “We’ll probably start that way, with the other two guys where they are.”

NOTES: Alonso hit his first homer of the spring on Wednesday night, a three-run shot in a 5-3 loss to the Astros. … Carlos Carrasco made four innings in his first Grapefruit League game. He allowed three runs and six hits, including homers by Michael Brantley and Yordan Alvarez. Carrasco is looking to close a position behind the rotation. The 35-year-old right-hander had elbow surgery in October during a disappointing start with the Mets last season after leading 1-5 with a 6.04 ERA over 12, delayed by a hamstring injury. Had happened. “I thought he was crisp this time,” Showalter said. “I know he had a great feeling about it.”


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