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Mets sticking with platoon of Brett Baty and Mark Vientos at third base

The Mets called up Mark Vientos from Triple-A Syracuse 11 days ago to platoon him at third base with Brett Baty through the team’s eight-game, three-city road trip. Calling up Vientos to get his power bat in the lineup meant cutting veteran utilityman Joey Wendle. While the Mets got through eight games without needing a utility infielder, the team made it sound as though the Baty/Vientos platoon wasn’t a long-term solution.

But now the Mets are back in New York to open a 10-game homestand and both third basemen remain on the roster. The Mets reassessed, deciding to keep both young corner infielders for at least a little while longer.

“We still feel like there [are] going to be opportunities for both of them,” manager Carlos Mendoza said Friday before the Mets opened a series against the San Francisco Giants at Citi Field. “We’ve got Vientos today in the lineup and we’ve got a couple of righties coming up here that have got pretty big splits, so pretty sure Baty will see some playing time.”

The roster construction is interesting, especially given the struggles at the plate for shortstop Francisco Lindor and second baseman Jeff McNeil. Although managers have to practically pull Lindor off the field, giving them a day off to reset would make sense. But the Mets can’t do that the way the roster is currently constructed. Baty, who also hasn’t been hitting, would only play a middle infield position in an emergency.

Baty has hit just .111 with a .318 OPS over his last 12 games and struck out three times against the Cleveland Guardians in his only game of the series. Lindor is hitting just .170 in his last 12 games, though he did go 4-for-10 with two doubles in his last two games in Cleveland. The Mets think McNeil is close to heating up, having hit two home runs in the last series. Still, the former NL batting champ has talked about how he hasn’t felt great at the plate as of late and his May numbers show that: .213 with 10 strikeouts in 80 plate appearances.

“We do feel comfortable with where we’re at roster-wise,” Mendoza said. “Whenever we have to make a decision — if we need to make a decision — then we’ll make it. But for the time being pretty comfortable with [Baty and Vientos] here.”

Typically, the Mets don’t have Vientos face many right-handed pitchers, but they’ve been satisfied enough with what they’ve seen so far this season to use him against a few of them. The Mets will face right-handers Jordan Hicks and Logan Webb this weekend.

“I’ve faced righties before,” the right-handed hitting Vientos said. “There isn’t really anything different.”

Vientos, 24, is 3-for-13 (.231) with two walks, two strikeouts and a home run against right-handers this season. It’s a small sample size, but in 15 at-bats against lefties, he has seven hits (.467), four doubles, one home run, one walk, three strikeouts and a 1.433 OPS this season.

He credits his experience from the last two seasons with knowing how to stay prepared for sporadic playing time.

“Doing it before and knowing what it takes to be ready when your name is called,” he said. “I have some experience. It’s been what, two years now? So I’m not inexperienced. I’m also learning from my teammates and they’re helping me out.”

Baty and Vientos are extremely close, with Baty calling Vientos his “best friend” earlier this week in Cleveland. Mendoza likes that they both stay engaged on the bench and bring energy to the dugout.

The Mets don’t have a favorable solution for a utility infielder in Syracuse. Jose Iglesias has been mentoring Luisangel Acuña, the club’s fifth-ranked prospect, and they like that the two spend so much time together. Yolmer Sanchez hasn’t been hitting. Double-A infielder Jett Williams, the top-ranked prospect, is injured.

That leaves Rylan Bannon, who has played 27 innings in the Major Leagues at second and third, posting a -1 OAA.

There is no easy answer for the Mets in the infield, so until they have one, they’ll roll with Baty and Vientos.


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