Home News How the Mets plan to use Mark Vientos and Brett Baty

How the Mets plan to use Mark Vientos and Brett Baty

PHILADELPHIA — Mark Vientos is back in the big leagues once again, and while this time he may be afforded a longer opportunity than last, the third baseman isn’t trying to look too far ahead.

Vientos is riding the waves of the season, good and bad. His hopes were up before it even began, only for the Mets to sign J.D. Martinez, which bumped him to Triple-A Syracuse. When Starling Marte went to the Dominican Republic for a family emergency in April, Vientos was called up and played the hero role with his first walk-off home run against the St. Louis Cardinals.

But when Marte returned, Vientos returned to Syracuse.

He was recalled by the Mets again Wednesday and was in the lineup playing third base against the Philadelphia Phillies. There was no hiding his excitement, but he was much more measured this time than during big league stints in the past.

“The way you view things is big,” Vientos said Wednesday at Citizens Bank Park. “For me it’s just another baseball season — another baseball season with its ups and downs. I’m taking it day by day and I’m here now, so I’m happy with that and happy to be with the squad.”

Vientos is expected to platoon with Brett Baty at third base, though manager Carlos Mendoza is hesitant to call it a straight platoon. Baty will become the Mets’ new utility infielder, at least in the interim, and will get more at-bats against right-handed hitters. Vientos will see more at-bats against left-handed hitters.

“We’re facing a lefty today and potentially few more in the next series against the Marlins, so it was a good opportunity for him to get some playing time here,” Mendoza said. “That’s the decision we made yesterday, but Brett will continue to play as well. It’s a combination of matchups and putting guys in a position to have success.”

The Mets hope Vientos can help with an anemic offense. The offense ranks toward the lower third in the league in runs per game (4.20) and OPS (.672). He’s hit .285 with a .876 OPS and six home runs in 31 games with Syracuse.

But getting another bat to work with came at the cost of Joey Wendle. The Mets have gone from two utility infielders to none, designating Zack Scott for assignment last month and Wendle on Wednesday.

Wendle was signed to a Major League contract in December to replace Luis Guillorme, and while he provided solid veteran leadership, the Mets needed him to defend. His -2 OAA wasn’t good enough and he became the victim of a roster crunch.

However, the Mets acknowledged that the sample size was small.

“It was a tough one,” Mendoza said. “Not an easy one because of who he is as a player and as a person, such a professional. Obviously, things didn’t go the way we were expecting or the way he was expecting. He didn’t get many opportunities, but he understood that it’s a business and where we are in trying to change things up here. And we needed a righty bat.”

Wendle hit .222 with a .493 OPS in only 18 games for the Mets (37 plate appearances).

Baty will work with Mike Sarbaugh to take grounders all over the infield over the next week or so, but the Mets only plan to use him to back up Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil in an emergency.

“The angles are different, especially if he’s got to go to second base to turn a double play or something that he’s never done,” Mendoza said. “But this is where we are right now and we want to roll with it.”

That leads one to believe Vientos might not be up in the Major Leagues for very long. While Francisco Lindor would play all 162 games if you let him, injuries and illnesses happen. The slumping McNeil was already benched earlier this week. At some point, the Mets will need another utility infielder.

But this is where the Mets are now and they’ll work with what they have.

“I don’t look into the future,” Vientos said. “I’m just staying with the daily things that I’ve got to do right now. I’m going to go do batting practice and I have a game at 6:40. I’m just worried about things that are about to happen, I don’t look into the future.”


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