Valdespin, who batted second, had a pair of RBIs in a 2-for-4 performance, which came on the heels of another 2-for-4 outing Monday.
Problem is, the Mets are already committed to Daniel Murphy at second base, Valdespin's natural position, despite Murphy's recent struggles. And they are not interested in giving Valdespin more defensive reps at shortstop, where he struggled earlier this season. So to plug Valdespin into Tuesday's lineup against the Orioles, Collins had to revisit his Spring Training experiment, using the rookie in left field. Valdespin played in the outfield for the first seven innings, then shifted to second in the late innings.
"If they need me in the outfield, I'll play the outfield," said Valdespin, who played center at Triple-A Buffalo early in April and has subbed in left field twice with the Mets. "That's the opportunity."
"Maybe this is his opportunity," Collins said, "that he's going to grab and make the most of it."
Though Valdespin collected just two hits -- one of them a go-ahead home run -- over his first 23 big league at-bats, he has since gone 10-for-31, with four doubles, one triple and one home run.
His window for playing time may be limited, with injured middle infielders Ruben Tejada and Ronny Cedeno both on rehab assignments and nearing activation. But coming off a 17-homer, 37-steal season split between two Minor League levels last year, Valdespin may be auditioning to stick around even after those two return.
"He's adding some spark," Collins said. "He's adding some energy. The last few games he's played, we've won, so I'm going to run him in there again tonight."