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Flores returns after stint on DL; Kelly optioned

MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

PHOENIX -- For approximately two weeks before landing on the disabled list May 28, Wilmer Flores struggled through back soreness. At the plate, the issue did not bother him. In the field, constantly crouching and standing up, it did.

"It was affecting my team and it was affecting me moving out there," Flores said. "So that's why I decided to say something, and do something about it."

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PHOENIX -- For approximately two weeks before landing on the disabled list May 28, Wilmer Flores struggled through back soreness. At the plate, the issue did not bother him. In the field, constantly crouching and standing up, it did.

"It was affecting my team and it was affecting me moving out there," Flores said. "So that's why I decided to say something, and do something about it."

View Full Game Coverage

All told, Flores missed two-and-a-half weeks with the injury, which he defined as inflammation around a disk in his back. Fully recovered from both the injury and a resulting cortisone injection, Flores returned Friday in Arizona, with the Mets optioning Ty Kelly to Triple-A Las Vegas.

"I'm 100 percent," said Flores, who went 6-for-11 with a home run in three Minor League rehab games. "My timing is there and I'm good to go."

Back with the Mets, Flores will slot back into his usual role as the starter at first base against left-handed pitchers, and sometimes versus righties as well. Struggling prior to his injury, Flores was hitting just .248 with three home runs and a .719 OPS in 128 plate appearances -- numbers well below his usual production levels. Against lefties, Flores was slugging just .239, barely half his career output entering this season.

The Mets have little doubt that he'll turn around those numbers, fortifying an offense that has been baseball's worst, by a wide margin, against left-handed pitchers. If he thrives, Flores can again attempt to expand his role, perhaps even playing some outfield with Jay Bruce sidelined.

"I think Wilmer can sneak in some starts," manager Mickey Callaway said. "He can handle both lefties and righties. He's got that short, quick swing. … We'll get him in there."

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

New York Mets, Wilmer Flores