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Flores slugs homer amid clean OF debut

Vargas to have CT scan; Cespedes, Conforto play in Minors game
Special to MLB.com

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Using a glove he got from Yoenis Cespedes two years ago, Mets infielder Wilmer Flores played his first game in left field in Saturday's 9-7 win over the Nationals.

"I felt weird, obviously. I was waiting to get that first fly ball out of the way," said Flores, who has never played a professional game in the outfield.

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Using a glove he got from Yoenis Cespedes two years ago, Mets infielder Wilmer Flores played his first game in left field in Saturday's 9-7 win over the Nationals.

"I felt weird, obviously. I was waiting to get that first fly ball out of the way," said Flores, who has never played a professional game in the outfield.

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A fourth-inning fly ball off the bat of Nationals second baseman Wilmer Difo gave him his only chance Saturday, and Flores easily made the catch.

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"I was getting anxious," said Flores, who practices twice a week in the outfield and shags fly balls during batting practice. "I wanted to get that first ball."

Despite the initial awkward feeling, Flores said he would be comfortable playing the outfield.

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"Definitely," he said. "Obviously I'm going to need more time, but today I felt good. I saw what it's like. We'll see."

The move to the outfield certainly didn't affect Flores' hitting. He went 3-for-4 with a double and a two-run homer in the fifth inning that broke a 3-3 tie.

Manager Mickey Callaway said he would have no problem with Flores in the outfield -- or anywhere else on the field -- as long as he can put his bat in the lineup.

"You saw why he needs to be playing multiple positions," Callaway said. "The kid can hit. He can hit really good. So we need to get him as many at-bats as we can this season."

Injury updates
Although X-rays were negative, left-handed pitcher Jason Vargas was scheduled to have a follow-up CT scan Saturday on his right hand. Vargas took a comebacker to the hand in a Minor League game on Friday.

Cespedes tested his sore right wrist on Saturday, going 1-for-6 in a Minor League game. Outfielder Michael Conforto, who's working his way back from left shoulder surgery, also played in the game, going 0-for-5 with two walks after an 0-2 showing on Friday with two walks.

Video: Outlook: Conforto a major question mark for 2018

Getting in some innings
Left-hander Jerry Blevins and righties AJ Ramos and Jeurys Familia were slated to appear in Minors games on Saturday. In addition, right-hander Zack Wheeler is scheduled to start a Minor League game on Monday.

Position battle
Juan Lagares, celebrating his 29th birthday on Saturday, did not travel with the team. Brandon Nimmo played center field against the Nationals and hit in the leadoff spot. He went 1-for-4 with an RBI.

Nimmo played in 69 games for the Mets last season, hitting .260 with five homers and 21 RBIs in 177 official at-bats.

Up next
The Mets take a trip to Sarasota on Sunday for a 1:05 p.m. ET game against the Orioles. Right-hander Noah Syndergaard gets the start for the Mets. Also scheduled to pitch for New York are Robert Gsellman, Matt Purke, Jacob Rhame and Seth Lugo. Listen to the game on Gameday Audio.

Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com who covered the Mets on Saturday.

New York Mets, Wilmer Flores