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Flores feeling better, ready to go for NLDS

Shortstop dealt with illness, back injury at end of regular season

LOS ANGELES -- Healthier and happier than he has been in days, Wilmer Flores on Thursday downplayed the illness that resulted in him losing approximately 10 pounds and -- combined with a minor back injury -- limited him to just two plate appearances over the team's final seven regular-season games.

"I feel good," Flores said at Dodger Stadium. "There's no excuse. I'm ready to go."

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During the National League Division Series, which begins Friday at Dodger Stadium (9:30 p.m. ET on TBS), Flores should be a bench player for the Mets. Manager Terry Collins has said that Ruben Tejada will start Game 1 against left-hander Clayton Kershaw, and will receive the lion's share of playing time at shortstop. :: NLDS: Mets vs. Dodgers -- Tune-in info ::

Because Collins also plans on starting left-handed second baseman Daniel Murphy against all of the Dodgers' lefty starters, that leaves little room for Flores to assume anything more than pinch-hitting duties.

But Flores, whose flair for the dramatic included a walk-off home run against the Nationals on July 31, won't be confined to the dugout. He could come to the plate late in games against Dodgers left-handers J.P. Howell or Luis Avilan.

In 137 games this season, Flores hit .263 with 16 homers.

"A lot of excitement," Flores said of emotions leading into Game 1. "This is what you work for all season. We're ready to go."

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.
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