With the entire training and exhibition in the spring season in the books for the New York Mets, veteran second baseman Neil Walker has finally put the Pittsburgh Pirates in the past– the team whom he played his entire career and as well with growing up watching them in his hometown Pittsburgh.
Walker feels like the new guy on the team!What do you think about his play?
“It’s completely different than [in February],” said Walker, who on Sunday he made his debut playing against the Kansas City Royals. “And not in a good way or bad way, just in a more comfortable way, and that’s always a good feeling for a player. You fit in. You’re accepted and you can just go out and play and enjoy the game with your teammates.”
With Walker’s debut to the team on Sunday, the team is putting him as a dependable switch-hitter who has the ability to bolster the middle of the lineup. He is viewed as an upgrade over Daniel Murphy, who previously was in that position over the past five seasons. When he arrived in the trade for Jonathon Niese, a pitcher for the Pirates that haves the same qualities for the Mets, which helped the Pirates reach the playoffs three straight years.
With Walker’s settling into the groove after a slow training in the spring, the baseman told Terry Collins that he wanted to get extra at-bats in the league game. He then headed over to the back fields of the Mets' training complex Saturday afternoon to work out and show off his swings.
“The more at-bats you accumulate the more comfortable you tend to feel and the more you rhythm starts to come back just kind of naturally,” Walker told to NJ Advance Media in how to get more at-bats. With a total of 543 at-bats in his career, the manager Collins suggested on Friday Walker might have been affected by the Pirates and wanting to impress them at his first Mets camp.
“I think he’s on a new team trying to make an impression and he’s having a tough spring,” Collins said.
Since Walker seems to be finally settling into an offensive groove in the starting season for the Mets, he has gone 4-for-7 with a triple and also homered in the minor league game Saturday.
With the designated hitter being in effect on Sunday’s game, pitcher Matt Harvey did not have to swing the bat, nor did left fielder Michael Conforto so they potentially had Walker to bat sixth behind. Walker went 0-4 but tdid get an RBI in his debut with the Mets.