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Eager for ABs, Flores taking reps in outfield

Callaway outlines expectations in brief team address; Tebow shows new stance in BP
MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- About a week ago, Mets manager Mickey Callaway asked Wilmer Flores if he would mind taking reps in the outfield this spring. Flores wasn't particularly surprised. A natural shortstop whom the Mets have asked to play, at various times, every infield position on the diamond, Flores has kept an outfielder's glove in his locker for years. Just in case.

While this latest experiment may be more of a break-glass-in-case-of-emergency situation, Flores is willing to do anything that could earn him an extra at-bat or two.

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- About a week ago, Mets manager Mickey Callaway asked Wilmer Flores if he would mind taking reps in the outfield this spring. Flores wasn't particularly surprised. A natural shortstop whom the Mets have asked to play, at various times, every infield position on the diamond, Flores has kept an outfielder's glove in his locker for years. Just in case.

While this latest experiment may be more of a break-glass-in-case-of-emergency situation, Flores is willing to do anything that could earn him an extra at-bat or two.

"I don't want to sit on the bench," he said. "I want to play."

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For much of this offseason, it didn't appear that playing time would be any more of an obstacle for Flores than it had been in prior years. But the late acquisition of Todd Frazier changed the equation for Flores, who amassed 362 plate appearances last season playing first, second and third base, as well as frequently coming off the bench.

Even with Frazier around, Flores is still a lock to start at first or second every time the Mets face a lefty. Team officials say he'll also receive some reps at first base against right-handers, with Adrian Gonzalez unlikely to play every day at age 36.

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"I don't see him at just one position," Callaway said. "This kid can hit -- not only can he hit lefties pretty well, he does a pretty good job against righties. And we need his bat in the lineup as often as possible."

But versatility can only help. In addition to Flores, Jose Reyes will continue to take fly balls in the outfield this spring. Those two figure to constitute half of the Mets' Opening Day bench, along with Kevin Plawecki and Brandon Nimmo.

"If I have to be in the outfield to get in at least one more game, I'll do it," Flores said. "It'll be a challenge. I'm used to playing infield. But I'm going to put in the work and try to be the best I can be out there."

Second to none
Although it seemed for most of the offseason that Asdrubal Cabrera would play third base for the Mets this year, he was not surprised when the team acquired Frazier, pushing him to second. Earlier in the winter, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson called Cabrera's agent, telling him to keep his client prepared for both.

As it turns out, Cabrera prefers second base, a position he's played more often than third during his 11-year career.

"I feel comfortable there," Cabrera said.

Tweet from @AnthonyDiComo: Chip off the old block. Asdrubal Cabrera's son, Meyer, was lending a hand during fielding practice today at Mets camp. pic.twitter.com/8cxysXAKNg

Morning meeting
Prior to the Mets' first full-squad workout Monday, Callaway gathered the team's players and staff members together for a brief address, outlining his expectations for the team. The new manager said he kept things as general as possible after spending much of his winter individualizing goals for specific players.

"From here, we have to go out and do all those things we talked about," Callaway said. "Those things are just words. I think the thing that's going to tell the tale is if we can accomplish all those things we talked about every single day to get to where we want to go."

Video: Callaway talks about what he told his new team

Tebow time
Taking live batting practice during the Mets' first full-squad workout, Tim Tebow showed off a much more compact stance than he used a year ago. Tebow now starts from a narrower base, with a shorter overall swing.

He is also 12 pounds lighter than he was last February, when his body was still more geared toward football. Making such changes over the winter, Tebow said, was easier than doing it in-season.

Video: Tebow, Callaway on playing time in Spring Training

"For me, it was going into the offseason and knowing what I had to work on," Tebow said. "It was my first time playing a baseball season in 12 years since my junior year of high school. It's hard to fully make changes in a season when you're competing one night, you work on it the next day and you compete the next night. It's hard for those changes to really lock in."

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

New York Mets, Asdrubal Cabrera