DENVER -- Zach Lutz swears he was not nervous when he first strode into the Mets' clubhouse earlier this week, nor when he made his debut as a pinch-hitter with the bases loaded against the Marlins on Tuesday. Nor was the rookie nervous on Friday, with his name in the starting lineup for the first time.
But Lutz finally felt the grip of the big leagues late Thursday evening, after arriving at his hotel room and wondering about the whereabouts of his bags. Within minutes, there was a knock at his door.
"It finally hit me," Lutz said, laughing. "It beats the Minor League bus rides, for sure."
There is a good chance that Lutz may enjoy the luxuries of big league life longer than expected, with manager Terry Collins indicating that -- even with Ronny Cedeno on the disabled list -- the Mets do not necessarily need to keep Jordany Valdespin on the roster as middle-infield depth. Because Justin Turner is capable enough of playing shortstop in a pinch, Collins said, Lutz has a good chance to stick around next week when the Mets activate outfielder Andres Torres from the DL.
For now, Lutz is simply growing acclimated to Major League life. The rookie started at first base Friday against the Rockies, with Collins wanting to give the slumping Ike Davis a day off against left-handed starting pitcher Drew Pomeranz. Though Lutz is a natural third baseman, he has played enough first in recent Minor League seasons to feel at ease at the position.
"Before each game I always go over there and get work in," Lutz said. "I'm definitely comfortable there."