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Asdrubal to work at 3rd to increase versatility

Mets infielder plans to start taking grounders at position, which could also boost trade desirability
MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

NEW YORK -- The Mets' infield is about to become crowded again, prompting them to seek creative ways to increase their players' versatility.

One of those includes shifting Asdrubal Cabrera, who has not played third base since playing in the Venezuelan Winter League in 2009, to that position. Cabrera plans to begin taking grounders at third in the coming days, in a move that could also affect his trade desirability. Regular second baseman Neil Walker is due back from the disabled list next week in San Diego.

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NEW YORK -- The Mets' infield is about to become crowded again, prompting them to seek creative ways to increase their players' versatility.

One of those includes shifting Asdrubal Cabrera, who has not played third base since playing in the Venezuelan Winter League in 2009, to that position. Cabrera plans to begin taking grounders at third in the coming days, in a move that could also affect his trade desirability. Regular second baseman Neil Walker is due back from the disabled list next week in San Diego.

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"We've got to start to use a little bit of the versatility that those guys bring," manager Terry Collins said. "And they're all on board with it. Like Cabby said, 'I'll play wherever you need me to play.'"

That stands in stark contrast to what Cabrera said in San Francisco last month, when he demanded a trade after the Mets shifted him from shortstop to second base. The Mets asked Cabrera to play third earlier this season, but he said he would only do so if they picked up the $8.5 million 2018 option on his contract.

Since that time, Cabrera has softened his stance, and he is now willing to play any of those three infield positions. The Mets are still trying to trade Cabrera, with the Red Sox in particular emerging as a more realistic possibility if he proves capable of playing third.

"I know he said what he said in San Francisco," Collins said. "One thing we try to get him to understand is that right now, there's probably a larger market for a third baseman than there is for a second baseman at this particular point. So it would behoove him to have that option. Even though he hasn't played over there, this guy's hands are good enough that he can play anywhere."

The Mets will also have Walker take ground balls at first and third upon his return. But Cabrera is far more likely to bounce around the infield than Walker, while Jose Reyes is a strong bet to remain at shortstop until No. 1 prospect Amed Rosario arrives.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook.

New York Mets, Asdrubal Cabrera