NEW YORK -- Before the start of Saturday's Subway Series game against the Yankees, Mets hitting coach Kevin Long reiterated to Juan Lagares the importance of swinging at strikes. Chasing balls outside the zone was a significant reason why Lagares had racked up seven strikeouts in his previous four games, those struggles masked in large part by the tail end of a 10-game hitting streak.
With that lesson in mind, Lagares said, he focused on plate discipline during Saturday's 8-2 win over the Yankees. So he did not consider it much of a coincidence when he came away with four hits in four at-bats, scoring three times and driving in a run.
"I just try to do too much sometimes," Lagares said. "When I swing at strikes, I get good results. That's it."
The Mets still consider Lagares their future leadoff man, with the caveat that he must first improve his patience at the plate. Until that happens on a regular basis, the Mets have refrained from using him at leadoff even against left-handed pitchers, such as Yankees starter CC Sabathia.
"I don't necessarily think Juan is an RBI guy," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "I think when he starts to have good at-bats, he's a top-of-the-order guy, which we hope to get him back in that spot."
Continued results like Saturday's can only speed up the process for a player who wants to be known for more than his defense.
"It's a great feeling," said Lagares, whose four hits matched a career high. "It's one of those days when you feel good out there and make good swings."
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.