Conforto gets taste of center field for first time

Mets outfielder plays position for final three innings at Marlins Park

Conforto gets taste of center field for first time

MIAMI -- An unfamiliar face roamed center field for the Mets for the final three innings of a 7-2 loss to the Marlins on Saturday night at Marlins Park.

With his team down by five runs in the sixth, Mets manager Terry Collins figured what better time to give Michael Conforto his first action in center as a big leaguer. Conforto's only play came on Marcell Ozuna's towering fly ball with one out in the eighth. He rushed in and handled it with ease.

"He got the only ball that was hit to him. That was the best play," Collins said.

Conforto didn't start either of the first two games of the series, thanks in part to the spacious outfield in Marlins Park. Collins opted to go with the defensive-minded Juan Lagares both days. But late in the game, Collins saw an opportunity to get Conforto's feet wet at the new position.

"We had been talking about putting him out there and we were down five," Collins said. "I said, 'Let's run him out there. Let's see what we've got. Let him have a look out there.' If we're gonna put him out there, he might as well have a little experience."

Conforto had been taking fly balls in center since being recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas on Monday. He's mostly manned left field in his young career, playing right field just once in 110 career games prior to Saturday.

The plan is for Conforto to feel ready to start in center when the club returns to Citi Field on Monday.

"It's going fine. He's putting the work in," Collins said. "I'm hoping by the time we get to New York he'll be a little more comfortable."

Patrick Pinak is a reporter for MLB.com based in Miami. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.