Hairston makes spring debut in center field

Hairston makes spring debut in center field

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Scott Hairston took his most significant step to date on Wednesday in his return from a strained left oblique muscle, playing six innings in center field in his Grapefruit League debut.

Making one putout, recording an outfield assist and finishing 0-for-3 at the plate, Hairston reiterated afterward that he should be ready for Opening Day.

"I always envisioned starting the year with the team," he said. "I wanted to do that. I wanted to think that way. I didn't want to think negatively. I feel great now, and Opening Day seems like a really good possibility."

Hairston's progress has made Andres Torres' slow recovery from a strained left calf less of an issue for the Mets, who can more easily proceed without their starting center fielder if Hairston is in the fold. The Mets should have a better idea of Torres' status over the weekend.