PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The last of the Mets' starting position players rolled into camp two days early, sporting a bright orange "Venezolano" T-shirt and a grin. After shaking hands with general manager Sandy Alderson, shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera found his new locker, where double-play partner Neil Walker was waiting with a hug.
"I'm really happy I'm here," Cabrera said Tuesday. "I'm excited to be here. The clubhouse is good. They're really, really good guys."
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With the Mets, Cabrera is slated to start most days at shortstop and bat eighth. Signing him became a worthwhile gamble for the team only after it whiffed on free-agent second baseman Ben Zobrist and traded for Walker, which freed up some cash to add middle-infield depth. The Mets spent it on Cabrera, a nine-year veteran of the Indians, Nationals and Rays who has averaged 17 homers per season over the past five seasons.
Over the next six weeks, Cabrera hopes to grow familiar with both Walker and Wilmer Flores, who will back up all infield positions. The veteran's arrival leaves just two players -- outfielders Alejandro De Aza and Roger Bernadina -- absent from Mets camp, though position players are not required to be in town until Wednesday evening.
"He's a very good player," manager Terry Collins said of Cabrera. "You watch him take ground balls, he's got great hands. We think offensively, he's going to add a lot to our lineup. So it was a great pickup, I thought."
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.