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Battling for spot, Nimmo thriving atop order

Mets OF rips second spring HR; top prospect Gimenez gets first taste
MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Perhaps no Met has distinguished himself early in camp as well as Brandon Nimmo, who cracked a leadoff home run in the Mets' 4-2 win Monday over the Tigers. Through seven games, Nimmo is batting .389 with a team-high two homers.

Perhaps more importantly, Nimmo has shown the Mets that he can hold down the leadoff spot, as he did frequently late last season. While several club officials are enamored with the idea of using Juan Lagares most days in center field for as long as Michael Conforto is sidelined, Nimmo has an opportunity to wrest playing time away from his teammate.

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PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Perhaps no Met has distinguished himself early in camp as well as Brandon Nimmo, who cracked a leadoff home run in the Mets' 4-2 win Monday over the Tigers. Through seven games, Nimmo is batting .389 with a team-high two homers.

Perhaps more importantly, Nimmo has shown the Mets that he can hold down the leadoff spot, as he did frequently late last season. While several club officials are enamored with the idea of using Juan Lagares most days in center field for as long as Michael Conforto is sidelined, Nimmo has an opportunity to wrest playing time away from his teammate.

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Spring Training: Info | Tickets | Schedule

"I think they made it pretty clear that it's an open competition," Nimmo said. "Nobody has a spot here, especially with the new staff. They're getting first eyes on us. So it's definitely how I came into spring, that I'm competing for a position. It's healthy competition, but it is competing. I don't think that I have a guaranteed spot at all. So my results do matter to me."

Nimmo's patience -- he swung at a lower percentage of pitches last season than all but eight Major Leaguers with at least 200 plate appearances -- and speed provide an obvious answer to what manager Mickey Callaway has called his most difficult spring decision: choosing a leadoff hitter. But Lagares is an established Gold Glove Award winner, meaning Nimmo will have to keep hitting throughout March if he is to earn regular playing time early in the season.

Tweet from @Mets: .@You_Found_Nimmo talks about attacking the first pitch and being aggressive at the plate. #Mets pic.twitter.com/rgBd3c1IyF

"They're just looking for someone who is going to try and find good pitches to hit, and kind of set a tone for the game," Nimmo said. "I hope to be that person."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Baby face
The Mets borrowed their top-ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline, 19-year-old Andres Gimenez, from Minor League camp Monday for his first taste of the big leagues. Callaway joked that he asked Gimenez his age before telling him to enter as a pinch-runner in the bottom of the eighth.

Gimenez, who hit .265 with four home runs last year at Class A Columbia, also played the game's final half-inning at shortstop.

Injury updates
The Mets expect Amed Rosario, who departed Saturday's game early due to left knee irritation, to return to the lineup Tuesday. It will also be an important day for Jacob deGrom, who will throw a simulated game as he works to return from lower back stiffness. What deGrom does Tuesday may determine if he has enough time to be ready for Opening Day.

Video: deGrom on completing 40-pitch bullpen session

Camp battles
Paul Sewald, Jacob Rhame and Drew Smith, three right-handed relievers vying for jobs in New York's bullpen, each threw a shutout inning Monday, before Smith came back out for the ninth and allowed the Tigers' only two runs. A bullpen favorite, Sewald has allowed just one run in five innings.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom, Brandon Nimmo, Amed Rosario