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Lindor looking for consistency in second season with Mets

March 15, 2022 GMT
New York Mets' Francisco Lindor, left, and Los Angeles Dodgers' Max Scherzer, right, arrive at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla., for baseball labor negotiations, Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022. Person at center is unidentified. (Greg Lovett/The Palm Beach Post via AP)
New York Mets' Francisco Lindor, left, and Los Angeles Dodgers' Max Scherzer, right, arrive at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla., for baseball labor negotiations, Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022. Person at center is unidentified. (Greg Lovett/The Palm Beach Post via AP)
New York Mets' Francisco Lindor, left, and Los Angeles Dodgers' Max Scherzer, right, arrive at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla., for baseball labor negotiations, Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022. Person at center is unidentified. (Greg Lovett/The Palm Beach Post via AP)
New York Mets' Francisco Lindor, left, and Los Angeles Dodgers' Max Scherzer, right, arrive at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla., for baseball labor negotiations, Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022. Person at center is unidentified. (Greg Lovett/The Palm Beach Post via AP)
New York Mets' Francisco Lindor, left, and Los Angeles Dodgers' Max Scherzer, right, arrive at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla., for baseball labor negotiations, Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022. Person at center is unidentified. (Greg Lovett/The Palm Beach Post via AP)

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) — In an effort to improve on a tough first season in New York, Mets star Francisco Lindor has a plan in place to help the game slow down for him.

“Life was a little faster for me last year,” the switch-hitting shortstop said Tuesday at the club’s spring training complex. “I tried to give it my best, gave it my best and I just wasn’t as productive as I wanted to be.”

Traded to New York by Cleveland along with pitcher Carlos Carrasco in January 2021, the Puerto Rican star said he wanted to embrace his new home and be embraced in return, but boos resonated at Citi Field after his at-bats produced a .182 batting average through April. He managed just .204 in May and .160 in August, and finished with his lowest batting average of his seven-year career: .230.

“I didn’t feel like I was slumping. I wasn’t hitting and, obviously, the numbers weren’t there. I felt like I was having good days, but I was just inconsistent,” Lindor said.

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Lindor’s 10-year, $341 million contract with the Mets starts this season. He had a $22.3 million, one-year deal for 2021.

The second-year Met said he likes new manager Buck Showalter, saying he reminded him of “Tito” — Cleveland’s Terry Francona.

Showalter gave the four-time All-Star some simple, Francona-like advice.

“I’m not big on putting all these sayings up around, you know, (like by) Mark Twain. They read them one time and they’re wall space,” Showalter said. “But if I had one to put up, it would be ‘play better.’”

Lindor said he has a plan to do just that.

“I think this year – I know this year – all I did during the offseason with my workouts was making sure I had time to separate my workouts, and be with my wife and baby, and recover,” he said. “Last year, everything blended together.”

Part of putting last season behind him was moving on from his May 7 altercation with double-play partner Jeff McNeil in a tunnel leading to the Citi Field clubhouse.

As the Mets returned to the dugout after the top of the seventh inning, a number of players, including Michael Conforto and Dominic Smith, sprinted down the tunnel to break up the situation. Lindor had become visibly upset with the second baseman’s play in the shift, and the tension may have dated back to a series two weeks earlier at Wrigley Field.

“Me and McNeil, we have been good ever since then,” Lindor said. “We continue to play the game as hard as we can. Ultimately, we’re two competitors who want to win and do whatever it takes for us to win.”

He added that he and Showalter hadn’t discussed the incident: “There’s nothing to address.”

McNeil laughed off the fracas and agreed with Lindor’s assessment: “100%. It was behind us last year,” the second baseman said. “I love playing with him.”

A two-time Gold Glove winner, Lindor has no regrets locking himself into a decade of wearing blue and orange

“I felt like I had success last year,” he said. “We need to make it to the playoffs. We were right there, and then in the last month-and-a-half, I couldn’t help the team enough to make the playoffs.

“I’ve still got 10 more years.”

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