Mets' Pete Alonso focused on sticking at first base: 'I will never think of myself as a DH'

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Alex Smith
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Pete Alonso in first base crouch grey uniform
Pete Alonso in first base crouch grey uniform

During the shortened 2020 season, the universal designated hitter was adopted in both leagues for the first time, and while the DH hasn’t yet been implemented for the NL in 2021, all signs point to it eventually becoming part of the league at some point in the near future.

Like all NL teams, the Mets would certainly benefit from having an extra bat in the lineup, and they’ve built a roster that is undoubtedly suited for whenever the DH becomes a part of everyday life. While Dominic Smith is currently slated to be the Mets’ starting left fielder, adding a DH would presumably allow Smith to move back to his more natural first base, moving Pete Alonso into the DH spot.

But when Alonso was asked Friday about the potential of becoming more of an everyday DH as opposed to lining up at first base, he said that he’s put in too much works and believes in his defensive ability too much to not be a position player.

“I think I’m a really good first baseman, and I just want to play ball,” Alonso said. “As of right now, it’s my understanding that there’s no DH, and I think for me, I’m a first baseman and I’m a position player. I’m not a DH, and I don’t want to be labeled as that because I’ve worked too hard. And I feel like I have played well. Like in 2019, I played really well at first base. 2020 I just didn’t have my best year, whether it be offensively or defensively, but this year I feel like I have a great opportunity and I want to continue to grow as a person and player.

"I will never think of myself as a DH. I will always think of myself as a first baseman"

With the DH in play last season, Alonso served in that role 17 times in 2020, compared to his 38 games at first base. He did commit five errors at first base, which was tied for the most in all of baseball with Chicago’s Jose Abreu and Cincinnati’s Joey Votto.

In 2019, Alonso committed 12 errors at first base, the third-most in baseball, but he played a better defensive first base than many expected him to as a rookie.

With Smith also talking this week about feeling more and more comfortable in left, Alonso should be locked into first base, and the young slugger has previously said that winning a Gold Glove is a big item on his to-do list.