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Mets' Cowgill taking full advantage of opportunity

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The Mets did not trade for Collin Cowgill anticipating power, and it seems Cowgill was not expecting

much either. When the outfielder hit a line drive down the left-field line on Opening Day against the

Padres, Cowgill raced so hard out of the box that he did not realize the ball was a homer until he was at

third base.

"I got to enjoy it for about 90 feet," Cowgill said. "I'll take it."

Cowgill may not hit many long balls this season, but he will at least receive plenty of opportunities to

pad his total. The Mets are using Cowgill as their everyday centerfielder to start the season, expanding

beyond the platoon role they envisioned for him at the start of spring training.

A former member of the A's and D-backs, Cowgill earned that job security partly because of his strong

spring statistics, and partly because of his hustle. The Mets are enamored with the way Cowgill runs out

ground balls and hustles on defense, qualities he demonstrated throughout Monday's 11-2 win over the

Padres.

"Colin Cowgill took the opportunity and ran with it," Mets manager Terry Collins said of the centerfield

job. "It's what we talked about all spring long. We provide chances and what do you want to do with them.

He certainly got us off to a big start today."

Even if Cowgill falters, he should receive regular playing time against left-handed pitching, the

arrangement the Mets originally envisioned for him. His defense will keep him in lineups even if his bat

does not.

But Cowgill doesn't have much competition in center, given Kirk Nieuwenhuis' offensive limitations and

Jordany Valdespin's defensive flaws. So as long as he continues to hit even a little bit, Cowgill should

receive regular playing time.

It's an opportunity he is ready to embrace. Fans seem ready to embrace it too, considering the warm

ovation they gave Cowgill after his grand slam.

"It's really humbling," he said. "I tried to give them some acknowledgement, but at the same time, I've

got to concentrate on the game too. Just a humbling experience today. I'm very grateful for it, and I'm

looking forward to what we can do in the future."

No matter what happens in the future for the Mets, Cowgill figures to be a part of it.
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