Alderson: Too much focus on second base

Alderson: Too much focus on second base

Alderson: Too much focus on second base
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- In just a few days' time, the gaggle of candidates the Mets have at second base could be trimmed.

"That's a possibility, yeah," Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said Wednesday after a 4-3 loss to the Twins. "[The competition is] more or less status quo, I don't think anybody has broken away from the pack. One would like to see some separation, but maybe we'll see that in the next few days."

For Alderson, the hoopla surrounding the five-way competition at second base -- and in particular Luis Castillo -- has been a little puzzling. That goes for the attention paid to left-hander Oliver Perez, too. Alderson acknowledged that Castillo and Perez are of particular interest to fans because of their spotty tenure in New York, but he said he's still committed to giving both a fair chance.

"It's a little odd," Alderson said. "I think it does distract one from taking a look at this team as a whole and having a little more balanced view of this team as a whole ... I think there has been a lot of focus on second base, maybe to the exclusion of some other things. I wouldn't say there's anything else you should be watching, [maybe] something else you might write about."

Alderson was in the Dominican Republic on Tuesday, so he didn't get a chance to watch Perez's two-thirds of an inning against the Nationals.

"He's no longer competing for a starting job," Alderson said, "but left-handed relief is still a very legitimate possibility for him."

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As for Castillo, he started at second on Wednesday alongside Jose Reyes and David Wright, the regular left side of the infield, and went 1-for-3. Castillo struck out looking in his first at-bat, but he also took the at-bat long enough that Reyes could steal.

"Luis, some of the things that he does are some of the things that we hope to do as a team," Alderson said. "He often has great at-bats. You saw today, even striking out in the first inning, he gave Jose an opportunity to run."

Daniel Murphy, Brad Emaus and Justin Turner are battling with Castillo for the second-base job. A late arrival to the mix, Luis Hernandez, was recently reported to be looked at as a favorite, something manager Terry Collins downplayed Tuesday, while speaking highly of Hernandez's defense.

When asked Wednesday how he views second, as a defense- or offense-first position, Alderson gave a one-sentence answer: "I view it as an offensive position if it can be."

And ultimately, Alderson said, the decision at second will be his.

"Obviously, you'd love to have a consensus," Alderson said. "But at some point, who's on the team or not on the team, is probably my decision, with strong input from Terry and the coaches. Scouts who watch us on a daily basis. There'll be plenty of input on that topic."