Veteran outfielder Travis Jankowski proving his value with Mets: 'He’s a great piece for us'

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Travis Jankowski sprinting to first base blue jersey
Travis Jankowski sprinting to first base blue jersey

When the Mets released their lineup for game one of Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Atlanta Braves, it was bit of a surprise to see Travis Jankowski’s name at the top of the order, despite other leadoff options like Jeff McNeil still in the order.

But all Jankowski did was go 2-for-3 with a walk, a stolen bases and three runs scored as the Mets defeated the Braves 5-4.

“He’s as excited as a guy going into this first game of little league, playing and leading off,” Buck Showalter said after the game.

“Travis has been a pro, that’s why we wanted to keep him. He brings some tools that we need. He’s a great piece for us, a great teammate, and plays the game right.”

Jankowski, a 30-year-old Stony Brook product who had appeared in the majors with the San Diego Padres, Cincinnati Reds, and Philadelphia Phillies before signing with the Mets this offseason, has been a sparkplug for the Mets whenever he’s gotten his chance, either as a pinch-runner, a late-game defensive sub, or as was the case on Tuesday, a starter.

Now slashing .360/.448/.360 this season with three stolen bases in three attempts, Jankowski has proven to be a valuable outfield piece, and he’ll be in the lineup in game two as well, starting for Starling Marte in right field.

“He knows the confidence we have in him in playing the game the way he plays it. … He’s a pro, he’s been around,” said Showalter. “Those guys are hard to find and I think a lot of people miss. Billy [Eppler] and our front office don’t miss.

“When you get a guy like him out there that serves as a piece that you need, it really helps [Brandon Nimmo] not have to play two games, it helps Marte not have to play two games. Just trying to keep in mind [Marte is] 33 years old and you’ve got to spread the time around.”