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Return of Luis Guillorme Increases New York Mets' Lineup Flexibility

With Luis Guillorme back, the Mets' lineup flexibility just increased by a wide margin.
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NEW YORK - Losing Starling Marte indefinitely to a non-displaced fracture of his right middle finger was a crushing blow for the New York Mets, but the return of this versatile infielder helps soften that blow a little bit.

After missing nearly a month with a groin strain, Luis Guillorme returned from the IL on Monday and will be available off the Mets' bench in his team's series opener with the Chicago Cubs at Citi Field.

"There's a lot of things he brings," manager Buck Showalter said of Guillorme's game. 

"One thing you ask yourself when you talk about players when they're on your club or you're trying to acquire them: 'do they make their teammates better?' Having Luis here gives us a nice safety net in a lot of places and a lot of things in his game. We've missed him."

With Marte out, Tyler Naquin has manned right field on an every day basis for the past week. But now that Guillorme is back, the Mets' lineup becomes a lot more flexible, given his ability to play both second and third base at a Gold Glove caliber level.

Prior to injuring his groin, Guillorme and Eduardo Escobar had been platooning at third base. However, now that Escobar's bat has caught fire (.380/.418/.720 in last 15 games), Showalter indicated that Jeff McNeil could slide into a corner outfield spot, which would mean Guillorme will see more time at second base. 

"Jeff's ability to play left field and right field, in addition to second and third base, and Luis being able to play all over the diamond, even Mark Canha's and Naquin's versatility," Showalter said. "It's one of those things that (GM) Billy (Eppler) and the front office have focused on so people can move around if there's a need in a sport that's very challenging physically. It opens up a lot of possibilities."

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Meanwhile, Marte told Inside the Mets on Monday that a good amount of the swelling on his fractured finger had subsided, but he is only at the phase of shagging fly balls and running. He expects to do some left-handed swings soon, but does not yet know when he can throw a baseball or swing a bat with two hands. 

While Marte's absence is a significant loss, the return of Guillorme will provide a boost to the Mets both offensively and defensively. In 86 games this season, Guillorme is slashing .283/.355/.357 with a .712 OPS. His presence gives Showalter a lot more flexibility when filling out the lineup card moving forward.

Read More:

- Mets Promote Mark Vientos After Starling Marte Hits IL

- Chris Bassitt's Consistency has Helped Stabilize Mets' Rotation

- Mets Lose Max Scherzer to IL Again

Follow Pat Ragazzo on Twitter (@ragazzoreport), be sure to bookmark Inside The Mets and check back daily for news, analysis and more.

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