Kevin Pillar, Luis Guillorme put on defensive clinic in Port St. Lucie

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Coby Green
·3 min read
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Kevin Pillar dives for ball in outfield vs. Marlins
Kevin Pillar dives for ball in outfield vs. Marlins

The Mets fell to the Miami Marlins on Friday, but like any spring training game, the final outcome wasn't the most important development of the day.

The Mets got a solid outing from Marcus Stroman, who took the mound for the third time this spring and tossed 58 pitches for four hits, four strikeouts, one walk and one run in 3.1 innings.

But those numbers could've looked a bit different if not for some big plays made by the defense.

Kevin Pillar, who was brought in as a potential fill-in at center field, was playing out in right Friday. With a man on first, Jesus Aguilar sent a ball out into right field that got caught up in the sun a bit. Pillar stumbled around trying to place it for a second there, but managed to find it and make a diving catch.

Pillar said playing in the corners brings a different element when it comes to reading the swing of the bats.

"You have a really clear, pretty easy view to read the hitter's swings," Pillar said about playing in center. "You can also read location of pitches, you can read movements of pitches and it's allowed me to anticipate where the ball's going to go and be moving.

"In the corners, it's a little bit more challenging to read the swings. ...But you can't really be as attuned with the game with where the pitches are at, where the pitcher is locating his stuff... Just kind of having a better understanding of, whether you're playing left or right, the ball tends to go towards the lines a little bit more and just kind of positioning yourself accordingly."

Luis Guillorme played at third base Friday, but is able to play shortstop or second base as well.

With Stroman being a heavy groundball pitcher, opportunities for Guillorme to make big plays on the field are aplenty, but he says he approaches the game the same way, no matter who is on the mound.

"I'm going to be out there whenever they need me," Guillorme said. "Whenever there's a pitcher out there like that, for me, it makes it fun, it keeps you on your toes, it keeps you in the game. I love being out there when there's pitchers that get a lot of ground balls like that."

Guillorme started a 5-4-3 double play that kept things somewhat at bay for the Mets when the bases were loaded. He said he's grown more comfortable at third base as time as gone on with him out there.

"Staying a little lower to the ball and reading the ball better," Guillorme said. "At the end of the day, I practice those...hard hit balls to the right, to the left, just get a little bit of everything everyday."

The Mets' third base situation seems to have settled at J.D. Davis slated there with the season starting soon, but having Guillorme playing the way he is at the position could make him a great matchup filler when they need him.