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Valdespin waiting for his chance at 2B

Second baseman Jordany Valdepsin spent the 2010 season in the Mets minor league system, splitting time between Class A St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton, and hitting a combined .272 with six homers and 41 RBIs in 383 at-bats. He had 17 steals in 29 attempts.

Valdespin then represented the club in the Arizona Fall League, where he hit .355 in 19 games. He had a home run and drove in 11 runs while not getting caught stealing in seven tries.

Now, Valdespin recently has been cleared by the Mets to begin play in the Dominican winter league with the Licey Tigers. He had suffered forearm strain on a checked swing during the AFL’s Rising Stars All-Star game in early November.

“Everything went good for me," Valdespin said about the AFL. "I hit well. Unfortunately, I had that injury, but it wasn’t serious."

The leading contenders to start at second base for the Mets are Daniel Murphy, who is no longer in the Dominican Republic, Rule 5 pick Brad Emaus, and Luis Castillo. Ruben Tejada is slated to begin the season at Triple-A Buffalo. Justin Turner figures to be in the mix, too. Valdespin would like to be in that group as well, although he does not figure to be a factor in big league camp. (Valdespin was added to the 40-man roster this offseason.)

“I’m here working hard every day," Valdespin said in the Dominican Republic. "Taking grounders, throwing and catching, running, and hitting the other way. My goal is to make the team. My goal is to be in the big leagues all year."

Licey manager Brian Harper has penciled in Valdespin’s name for only two games so far, but praised the prospect’s talent.

“He got here last week because he came from the Mets camp," Harper said. "He’s a very talented young guy. He’s got a lot of energy. He’s got a whole lot of talent, defensively and offensively. Just watching him practice, there’s a huge talent there."