Mets Lock In Lutz With 40-Man Roster Spot





NEW YORK—Third baseman Zach Lutz earned a promotion to Triple-A Buffalo for the final five games of the 2010 season. He went 6-for-20 (.300) with a homer and four doubles for the Bisons—but the best was yet to come.

The Mets added Lutz to the 40-man roster in November after the 24-year-old spent most of the year with Double-A Binghamton, batting .289/.389/.578 with 17 homers in 225 at-bats.

Now the next step is where things really get tough. While little seems set in stone for the Mets at the major league level, the club's most solid foundation is built at third base in the form of David Wright.

Farm director Adam Wogan explained that Lutz's addition to the roster was a traditional procedural move. If he hadn't been added, Lutz would have been eligible for selection in the Rule 5 draft. But that doesn't mean the Mets aren't impressed with his potential.

"He can swing the bat," Wogan said. "That's the most impressive thing. He makes consistent hard contact. He can drive the ball to the gaps, and he has a good approach. He doesn't chase out of the zone. He's very good in hitter's counts. He's a very good hitter."

Taken in the fifth round of the 2007 draft out of Alvernia (Pa.) University, where his father Yogi is head coach, Zach has played almost exclusively third base in his three full minor league seasons. He played three games at second in 2008 and 14 at first in 2009, but foot problems have hampered him more than position switches.

Lutz sustained a stress fracture in his right foot during his first pro game for short-season Brooklyn after being drafted. He had screws surgically inserted to correct the fracture, and he's been hobbled by lower-leg injuries ever since. In 2010 he missed two months with a stress fracture in his left foot.

"He missed a bit of time with the injuries and that's been a challenge," Wogan said. "Defensively, he works very hard. He's a very smart player. He can play third base. He's got good hands and a good arm. He's probably best at first and third. If you hit enough, a manager and a general manager will find a spot for you."

METAMORPHOSES

Daniel Murphy logged 19 games at second base for Cibao in the Dominican League, batting .320/.395/.515 with four homers and 22 RBIs in 103 at-bats. He also played 10 combined games at first and third base.

• The Mets signed former Marlins lefthanded reliever Taylor Tankersley to a minor league deal. Florida's first-round pick in 2004, he has held big league lefties to a batting line of .223/.313/.372 in 221 career plate appearances.