PORT ST. LUCIE — Jeff McNeil hasn’t officially been told he’s the Mets’ everyday third baseman, but he’s preparing toward that eventuality.
Last spring McNeil worked out in left field, but injuries to Todd Frazier and Jed Lowrie moved him to third base early in the season. Frazier returned to become the primary third baseman, with McNeil largely in the outfield. Now McNeil is the Mets’ best option at third — a position he expects will be less demanding physically than the outfield.
“Just kind of knowing where you are going to be every single day, you’re going to be at third, you kind of know what it takes,” McNeil said Monday. “[You] know how your body feels and we have a great training staff here to help me get through anything, so I am looking forward to it.”
McNeil contended for the NL batting title for much of last season, but a late slump dropped his average from the .340s to .318. Still, McNeil brought surprise pop to the lineup with 23 homers.
“I think I was kind of two different hitters last year,” McNeil said. “I mean, there was nothing I did that changed, it’s just how it was. I hit a little more home runs in the second half than…