ST. LOUIS -- Wilmer Flores starts on Wednesday for only the third time in the past 12 games. So is this an indication he now will be given an extended look at shortstop?
Not without producing right away, Terry Collins said.
New York Mets
"We've got to start winning. We don't have time to develop players right at the moment," Collins said as the Mets (31-40) entered their series finale against the St. Louis Cardinals at a season-worst nine games under .500. "... You can't just say, 'Hey, look, I'm going to sacrifice three or four games as we try to get some of these young guys who haven't been in the lineup going offensively.'
"I certainly understand how it's tough for them to play once every three or four days. I certainly understand it. I certainly get it. Unless the time comes where all of a sudden, hey, we're going to go with our young players and get them better, right now we've got to try to win some games."
Flores entered Wednesday hitting .232 with one homer and seven RBIs in 69 at-bats.
Not that alternative Ruben Tejada has been stellar. Tejada (.226, 2 HR, 15 RBIs in 168 at-bats) is 4-for-30 in his last nine games. Tejada does have a .343 on-base percentage this season to Flores' .264 and is a steadier fielding presence.
"Not that he can't help us win games," Collins added about Flores. "Don't get me wrong. Don't misunderstand me. It's about going with the guys that are really getting it done at the moment."
As for having Flores mostly languish on the bench as opposed to regularly playing at Triple-A, Collins said: "When we brought him here, he got in the lineup. He was going to play. We wanted to see it. He hadn't played shortstop in a long time -- a little bit in Triple-A. And then Ruben just started playing better. Ruben, of course, the track record means something, that he's done it at this level. It's a tough decision to make.
"What's obviously in the best interest of the player is to play. But you talk to a lot of guys -- a number of them, and I'm not sure Wilmer is one of them -- that would say, 'I'd just as soon be in the big leagues and get my chances than go play in Triple-A.' A lot of guys, certainly once they have accomplished what you need them to accomplish at Triple-A, they can get stuck there. They can go through the motions and not get much out of it.
"I think we've tried to keep him in the lineup as much as we can. He's in there today. Hopefully he comes up with some big hits."