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den Dekker playing his way onto Mets' roster

JUPITER, Fla. -- Matt den Dekker would like to head to New York when the Mets break camp in less than two weeks, and so far this spring, the 26-year-old outfielder is making a decent case for a roster spot.

Den Dekker entered Monday's 10-7 loss to the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium with a .375 batting average and a .426 on-base percentage, both of which ranked fifth among all National League players.

Den Dekker, who attended high school less than an hour away at Westminster Academy in Fort Lauderdale, made his MLB debut last August and is vying for a roster spot this spring. Den Dekker knows, however, that there's a chance he could start the season at Triple-A Las Vegas.

"There's a lot of competition out here," den Dekker said. "I'm just enjoying playing, and whatever they decide, they decide. I can't really worry about that too much."

Den Dekker sustained a broken wrist in Spring Training last year and said he spent some extra time with his weight training to gain more strength.

"I feel a lot stronger with my swing," den Dekker said. "I've had a pretty decent spring. Everybody out here is competing for jobs. Obviously, I'd like to be in New York. That's where everybody wants to be."

Den Dekker has played mostly center field, but he started in left on Monday.

"I've played center field all my life, but I can go to left or right as well," den Dekker said, adding that he doesn't care where he plays if he makes the final cut.

Mets manager Terry Collins said that he thinks den Dekker, who was 0-for-2 with two walks in Monday's game against the Marlins, has a solid chance to break camp with the big league club.

"Yep, definitely. He's played very well," Collins said.

Steve Dorsey is a contributor to
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