Mets bring up touted prospect Brett Baty to play third base

Updated Apr. 18, 2023 2:43 a.m. ET

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Touted prospect Brett Baty was called up Monday by the New York Mets and immediately inserted into the starting lineup against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Baty replaces slumping veteran Eduardo Escobar at third base after getting off to an outstanding start in the minors this season. A first-round draft pick in 2019, the 23-year-old Baty was batting .400 (14 for 35) with five home runs, 15 RBIs and a 1.386 OPS in nine games at Triple-A Syracuse.

“I was playing well, but now it's a new test to tackle,” Baty said in front of his locker at Dodger Stadium. “I’m just going to come up here and try to continue to put together good (at-bats) and play good defense for the team.”

The 34-year-old Escobar was hitting .125 with one homer, six RBIs and a .402 OPS in 14 games for the Mets. The switch-hitter is making $9.5 million in the second season of a two-year deal. New York holds a $9 million option for next year with a $500,000 buyout.

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A left-handed hitter, Baty went 1 for 4 with an RBI single in New York's 8-6 victory. He batted eighth against Dodgers right-hander Dustin May.

Baty is expected to get the bulk of the playing time at third, with days off against particular left-handed pitchers who are not ideal matchups.

“We’re not going to commit there,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said when asked if Baty would play most days moving forward. “We’ll make sure we make use of everybody’s skills. There are things to be gained by doing that.”

Baty homered in his first big league plate appearance last August in Atlanta. He played 11 games for the Mets before a thumb injury ended his season. He hit .184 with two homers, five RBIs and a .586 OPS in the majors last year.

Baty is ranked No. 2 among Mets prospects and 19th in baseball by MLB.com. He was drafted 12th overall in 2019 out of Lake Travis High School in Texas.

“I try to be super grounded, try to be present in every single moment, try not to think about stuff too far in advance and just tackle what I’m doing that day,” Baty said. “That’s kind of been my mindset all through my career and it’s really paid off.”

New York also recalled right-hander Edwin Uceta from Syracuse. Backup outfielder Tim Locastro was placed on the 10-day injured list with back spasms and right-hander José Butto was optioned to Syracuse.

Butto made his second major league start Sunday in Oakland and allowed one run in five-plus innings.

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