PHOENIX -- Considering that Chris Young landed on the disabled list before his first plate appearance with the Mets, the outfielder considers Friday his real season debut.
"I'm definitely not counting that first one," Young said Wednesday, after joining his teammates in Arizona for the plane ride back east. "It's tough to sit there and watch ballgames and not be able to get out there and participate."
Rehabbing in Port St. Lucie, Fla., Young learned how to program his iPad to watch Mets games, which is one of the only things that kept him sane. Straining his right quad on one of the first defensive plays of the season, Young wanted only to begin helping the Mets as soon as possible. But he is not eligible to return from the disabled list until Friday.
When the team activates him before that game against the Braves, Young should be able to contribute immediately. He was on fire throughout his rehab assignment with Triple-A Las Vegas, finishing 8-for-12 with two home runs in three games.
"I felt pretty good, but it wasn't so much about the hitting," Young said. "It was more about getting my leg right, getting comfortable running the bases again. When you pull a muscle, it's still a small adjustment period you have to go through to get comfortable with running again and being comfortable pushing yourself. That was really the main thing I was working on, and it got better every day."
To make room for Young, the Mets will most likely clear roster space by demoting one of the extra outfielders on their roster -- Kirk Nieuwenhuis or Andrew Brown. General manager Sandy Alderson did not dismiss the possibility of demoting first baseman Ike Davis instead, thereby clearing up the team's logjam at that position. But that remains a long shot at this point.
Steady playing time benefitting E. Young
PHOENIX -- For Eric Young, the difference between the first week of this season and everything since has been staggering.
Beginning the year in an 0-for-15 slump with eight strikeouts, Young beat out an infield single in the seventh inning of an April 5 game against the Reds to increase his batting average above .000 for the first time. On his way to first base, something apparently clicked; Young entered Wednesday's play batting .361 with 11 runs scored, seven stolen bases and five walks in 38 plate appearances since.
"It was just a matter of getting those swings in, getting my feet under me," Young said. "The more repetition you get, the better you're going to get at something, so I'll keep going. We've still got a lot of games to go, but I'm definitely feeling comfortable now."
For the Mets, Young's hot streak has come at a most opportune time. With Chris Young, Juan Lagares and Curtis Granderson all nursing injuries, Young has batted leadoff every day for the Mets instead of regularly sitting on the bench. And he will continue to do so for as long as Lagares remains on the disabled list with a strained right calf.
• Granderson missed his second consecutive game Wednesday with soreness in his left side, but the Mets expect him to return to the lineup for Friday's series opener against the Braves. Granderson injured himself crashing into the right-field wall Monday.
• Ike Davis returned to the starting lineup Wednesday, playing first base over usual starter Lucas Duda. Davis, a Phoenix-area native, has four home runs in 36 career at-bats at Chase Field.