PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Juan Lagares has shown the ability to put tough pitches in play. But Mets manager Terry Collins thinks better plate discipline will help Lagares reach base more often, perhaps making him a stronger option to hit in the leadoff spot.
"We certainly think Juan has the potential to get on base more," Collins said Monday. "We're trying to refine him to be a little bit more in control of the strike zone."
The Mets don't have a natural leadoff man, so the Gold Glove centerfielder will get a shot.
"As we get into spring training, we'll certainly look at different things," Collins said. "But he's going to get the opportunity to show us whether he can or he can't lead off."
Lagares hit .276/.329/.365 in 172 plate appearances in the leadoff spot last season. "I've worked a lot over the offseason to try to learn and try to be ready," he said. "I go with the same plan, try to swing at good pitches. But it's a process. The more you do it, the more you learn."
Reynolds to get his shot
Prospect Matt Reynolds, 24, will see plenty of action at shortstop once games begin.
"He's going to get a lot of playing time, and we're going to take a good, hard look at him at shortstop," Collins said.
Reynolds could be the fallback option for the Mets if Wilmer Flores and Ruben Tejada struggle at short. He hit .343/.405/.454 in 126 games in the minors last season.
Michael Cuddyer and John Mayberry Jr. will offer some cover at first base for Lucas Duda, but Collins said he still will see action against lefthanders, who held him to a .180 average last season . . . Zack Wheeler threw his first bullpen session since pitchers and catchers officially began workouts.