Swinging hot bat, Valdespin gets another start

Swinging hot bat, Valdespin gets another start

Swinging hot bat, Valdespin gets another start
NEW YORK -- Jordany Valdespin made his third consecutive start on Wednesday, and according to Mets manager Terry Collins, there was only one reason why.

"Right now, with him swinging the bat the way he is, he's going to be in the lineup," Collins said.

Valdespin tallied two hits in each of the Mets' first two games against Baltimore, and added another in Wednesday's 4-3 win when he beat out a Brian Roberts throw for an infield single. He is hitting .321 (9-for-28) with three doubles, one triple and eight RBIs in his last nine games.

"I came to Spring Training and everybody knew I could play here," Valdespin said. "So the only thing I needed to do was wait for my time and my opportunity. So they've given me the time and given me the challenge to play every day, so all I need to do is play hard every day."

But Valdespin's opportunities have also come with inconsistency in the field. The natural second baseman started there on Monday in place of a struggling Daniel Murphy, but started in left field on Tuesday so Murphy could man his regular post.

But as Murphy continues to struggle at the plate -- he is 2-for-20 in his last five games -- Valdespin has been Collins' go-to guy.

"He's gotten big hits, he's come through when we've got guys standing at second base," Collins said. "If we're going to win, we've got to drive those runs in, because as we're waiting for our power to really break out, he's been a guy that's come through."

Valdespin initially garnered some attention for taking heathy hacks at the ball when at the plate, but over the last few games has shifted his attention to simply "putting the ball in play." The approach has seemingly worked, but Collins said that at this stage in Valdespin's career, it's difficult to make permanent adjustments.

"As you grow and mature you'll always make some adjustments, but as of right now that's who he is," Collins said. "He's going to be aggressive, he's going to take a big swing."

The skipper said he'll continue to operate on a day-to-day basis and will continue to try some different lineups -- Vinny Rottino got the nod in left field on Wednesday -- but overall has been impressed by Valdespin's play.

"He believes in what he can do," Collins said. "It's not a huge ego thing, he's just confident that he's a good player and there's nothing wrong with that. Confidence is how you succeed in this game, and the more he plays and the more he grows maturity-wise, he's got a chance to be a real good player here."