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Surging Lagares in lineup after banging shoulder

MLB.com

ATLANTA -- Mets center fielder Juan Lagares is "fine" after banging his right shoulder against the outfield wall while making a spectacular leaping catch on Wednesday. The great catch robbed Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman of an extra-base hit.

"I didn't ask him, but he wasn't in the training room either, so he must be fine," manager Terry Collins said.

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ATLANTA -- Mets center fielder Juan Lagares is "fine" after banging his right shoulder against the outfield wall while making a spectacular leaping catch on Wednesday. The great catch robbed Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman of an extra-base hit.

"I didn't ask him, but he wasn't in the training room either, so he must be fine," manager Terry Collins said.

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Despite getting roughed up, Lagares remained in the game and nearly helped the Mets complete a ninth-inning rally. With two outs and trailing by three, Lagares drove in two with a single to center against Braves closer Craig Kimbrel.

The clutch hit gave Lagares a team-leading five RBIs and raised his batting average to .321 (9-for-28) through eight games. He has hit safely in seven of eight contests. His early success offers the promise of improvement from his .242 (95-for-392) clip in 2013.

"He's getting better," Collins said of Lagares. "There's a gradual progression. Nobody knows how good he's going to be, but we know how good he is defensively and he's grown offensively."

But no matter how much his offensive numbers progress, New York knows it has something special with Lagares patrolling center field. Mets pitcher Dillon Gee, who will start against the Angels on Friday, is especially thankful for Lagares.

"It's nice when you're pitching, and especially for a guy like me," Gee said. "I pitch to contact a lot. I'm trying to get them to put the ball in play, and it makes it easier for me to do that knowing that I have a guy like that in the outfield. He's definitely a Gold Glove-type outfielder, and I'm glad that people are finally starting to see that."

Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for MLB.com.

New York Mets, Juan Lagares