For the first time since he was acquired in early-January, Francisco Lindor took the field as a member of the New York Mets in a competitive game on Monday afternoon in his club’s spring-training opener against the Miami Marlins.
The superstar shortstop went 0-for-2 on the day with a groundout and flyout while batting second in the order behind Brandon Nimmo — who manager Luis Rojas revealed would be the primary lead-off man for a majority of the 2021 season.
While there weren’t many fireworks, it was a sweet return to action for Lindor with his new team.
“This is why we practice. We spend the whole offseason training and we finally get to play a game,” he said after he was pulled in the bottom-of-the-fifth for Ronny Mauricio. “Whether it counts or not, it’s still a game. It’s what we live for. We live for games, not for practices.
“The good thing about spring training is that if there’s no game or if I’m not playing, I can go to the backfields and face somebody.”
Lindor noted that it should take him between 35 and 40 at-bats to truly be ready for the 2021 season, which is just one month away.
That’s the same amount of time he’s given the Mets to negotiate a contract extension that would potentially secure him in Queens for what could very well be the rest of his MLB career.
While team president Sandy Alderson said earlier on Monday that talks with Lindor could begin “relatively soon,” Lindor wants to make sure that there is a perfect fit in New York.
“To be honest, I’ve been enjoying my days here,” Lindor said. “[Talks] might start soon, I don’t know, I don’t control it. But they have to get to know me and I have to get to know them. That’s why I say it’s a little too early to start.”
Needless to say, it’s one of the biggest decisions Lindor will ever have to make in his life.
“I have to get married, but I think that’s very important,” Lindor said of extension talks. “Knowing where home is going to be for the next however many years is going to be huge. We’ll see how everything goes, but I live life on a daily basis.”
Lindor has already shown the qualities of being a leader on a team that is on the precipice of competing for a National League pennant. He’s earned top marks from both Alderson and Rojas in how he’s interacted with his new teammates while setting an example behind a relentless work ethic.
“I’m living the best life I could’ve ever dreamed of. I’m living the dream. I’m in it,” he said. “I’m in the dream. I don’t know what else to say. I guess there’s no excuse for me not to work. My parents have always said to me to stay positive, be consistent. With being consistent comes working hard. “