After only playing half an inning this season, New York Mets outfielder Chris Young is ready to be activated from the DL on Friday so his season can truly begin. Even though Young is a few weeks behind everybody else, the Mets need Young to come storming out of the gate and have a fast start to the season.
Young’s return from the DL comes just in time, as the situation in the Mets’ outfield is a bit disconcerting. Even though Kirk Nieuwenhuis has filled in nicely the past two games, center fielder Juan Lagares going to the DL with a hamstring injury is a terrible loss for the Mets. Lagares has given the Mets extraordinary defense this season as well as timely hitting in the middle of the lineup, and Young will have to step into that role to give the Mets what they’re missing from Lagares both offensively and defensively.
The Mets also need Young to make an immediate impact to help make up for what they’re not getting from Curtis Granderson. Even before an injury that has kept him out of the past two games, Granderson was struggling at the plate over the first two weeks of the season. Suffering a few bumps and bruises isn’t going to help him get on track swinging the bat. The Mets will need Young to provide some pop in the middle of their order with Granderson slumping and David Wright also slow to get going this season.
Fortunately for the Mets, Young looks poised for a good start to the season, despite coming off the worst season of his career in 2013. Young had a strong spring, hitting .310, and then during a three-game rehab stint in triple-A, Young had eight hits in 12 at bats, including two home runs and two doubles.
All signs point to Young being able to get off to a hot start when he gets his first big league at bat of the season, and considering the current state of the Mets’ outfield and the middle part of their lineup, they’re going to need big things from Young over the next few weeks.