Morning News: Baxter, den Dekker vying for Opening Day

In yesterday’s 9-4 loss to the Braves, Mike Baxter went 2-for-2 with two RBI.

In 35 at-bats this Spring, Baxter has hit .343 with a double, two walks and six RBI.

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According to Mike Puma of the New York Post, Baxter could make the team as a backup in centerfielder if Scott Hairston begins the season on the disabled list.

“Even if it’s just limited time in spring training, it’s exciting to get a chance to play center and I think it’s important for my style of game to be able to play it,” said Baxter, according to Puma.

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Meanwhile, Terry Collins told reporters yesterday Matt den Dekker is in “legitimate consideration” to make the Opening Day roster as well.

den Dekker was invited back to Major League camp yesterday although he has struggled offensively this Spring, hitting just .158 in 19 at-bats with a double, triple, three RBI and six strikeouts.

For more on den Dekker, check out this post on MetsBlog yesterday, featuring commentary from MetsMinorLeagueBlog.com’s Toby Hyde, Michael Baron’s Q&A with den Dekker from February, and Newsday.

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In addition, Collins also said after yesterday’s game that, despite giving up four runs, Jon Niese threw the ball fine today; Josh Thole has made improvements behind the plate; and, lastly, Chris Schwinden could make the bullpen, in the event the team needs to put D.J. Carrasco on the disabled list to start the season.