ATLANTA -- Had he not simply been a fan of his father's big league teams, Eric Young, Jr. would have grown up a Mets fan. Raised in Piscataway, N.J., Young still has family in the area and travels there often.
"I definitely still go back and visit on holidays, so pretty much the whole state has been calling me up so far," Young said Wednesday, hours after the Mets acquired him in a trade for pitcher Collin McHugh. "My dad is excited. I think he always wanted to be a Met. He never got the chance to."
The younger Young is also excited, mostly because of the opportunity he will receive with the Mets. Still searching for a reliable leadoff hitter, manager Terry Collins inserted Young immediately into that spot Wednesday against the Braves, playing him in center field.
In 313 career games with the Rockies, Young stole 70 bases with a .329 on-base percentage. Though that latter statistic may not be ideal, the Mets are nonetheless intrigued by what Young can provide on the basepaths.
"We'll probably play him quite often to see what he brings to the table," Collins said. "We're hoping he brings something that we haven't had since Jose [Reyes]."
Leading off Wednesday's game, Young stroked a single off Braves starter Kris Medlen, but he was stranded after a flyout and a double play. Young finished 1-for-4 with a strikeout in the Mets' 5-3 loss.
Defensively, Young said that center field is his best position, though he is also capable of playing both corner-outfield spots as well as second base. After learning of the trade on Tuesday, Young caught an early flight the following morning from Arizona -- where he had been working out since the Rockies designated him for assignment earlier this month -- to Atlanta.
"Whenever I got the call," Young said, "I wanted to be ready to go."