Mets farmhand Wuilmer Becerra last played in the outfield on May 31, 2016. He expects to return there within a month.
Becerra, the third prospect acquired from the Blue Jays in the December 2012 trade for R.A. Dickey, underwent surgery last summer to repair a torn capsule in his right, throwing shoulder.
A natural right fielder, the 22-year-old Venezuelan exclusively has served as a designated hitter this season with Class A St. Lucie. However, as his rehabilitation program revs up, he is now throwing baseballs at 120 feet. Becerra soon will clear another hurdle by throwing to bases.
"I'm working hard every time in batting practice. I'm working my shoulder," Becerra said. "I want to play defense soon -- I think in three weeks, maybe four weeks. I'm not sure."
"I feel really good," he continued. "My shoulder feels strong. I don't feel sore. I understand the rehab process. I'm just trying to have good at-bats and be in there every day for the at-bats. I'm OK now. I'm not worried. I'm just waiting to play outfield soon."
The absence in the field has not hampered Becerra at the plate. Through 12 games, he has one home run and eight RBIs in 46 at-bats. His .348 average is good for seventh in the Florida State League and second on St. Lucie, trailing teammate J.C. Rodriguez (.356).
In six minor-league seasons, Becerra has hit .291 with a .349 OBP and .407 slugging, while playing between the Blue Jays and Mets organizations. He has walked a modest 84 times in 1,277 career plate appearances.
Becerra is viewed as a big-bodied player with strength and raw power who has shown the ability to hit for average. He is known for playing hard and running well for his 6-foot-3, 225-pound frame.
"I want to be better every day. I learn something new every day," Becerra said. "All the time I ask the hitting coach something when my teammates hit, or when I miss a pitch -- about the game, about the signs, every situation."
On his personal goals for improvement at the plate, Becerra added: "I think I have to control my strike zone better. I'm working every day on that. I just have to look for good pitches."
Of course, anything the Mets ultimately get from Becerra is gravy given the dividends the lopsided trade with Toronto already has paid from Noah Syndergaard and Travis d'Arnaud.
Organizational Leaders (Position Players)...
Average: Luis Guillorme, Binghamton, 375; Dominic Smith, Vegas, .373; Amed Rosario, Vegas, .362; Luis Carpio, Columbia, .356; J.C. Rodriguez, St. Lucie, .356; Wuilmer Becerra, St. Lucie, .348; Jhoan Urena, St. Lucie, .347; Patrick Mazeika, St. Lucie, .333; L.J. Mazzilli, Binghamton, .333.
Mar 6, 2017; Luis Guillorme (77) fields a double at Roger Dean Stadium. Credit: Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Home Runs: 9 tied at 2.
RBIs: Dash Winningham, Columbia, 12; Patrick Mazeika, St. Lucie, 11; Jeff Diehl, St. Lucie, 9; Dominic Smith, Vegas, 9; Tim Tebow Columbia, 9.
Steals: Luis Carpio, Columbia, 5; Anthony Dimino, St. Lucie, 4; Michael Paez, Columbia, 4; Champ Stuart, Binghamton, 4; Jacob Zanon, Columbia, 4.
Organizational Leaders (Pitchers)...
ERA: Merandy Gonzalez, Columbia, 0.00; Tyler Pill, Binghamton, 0.00; Jordan Humphreys, Columbia, 0.71; P.J. Conlon, Binghamton, 2.12; Nabil Crismatt, St. Lucie, 2.25; Mickey Jannis, Binghamton, 2.70; Blake Taylor, Columbia, 4.09; Andrew Church, St. Lucie, 4.40; Adam Wilk, Vegas, 4.70.
Wins: 6 tied at 2.
Saves: Chasen Bradford, Vegas, 3; Paul Sewald, Vegas, 2.
Strikeouts: Jordan Humphreys, Columbia, 18; P.J. Conlon, Binghamton, 16; Harol Gonzalez, Columbia, 14; Blake Taylor, Columbia, 14; Corey Oswalt, Binghamton, 12.
Adam Rubin (Facebook | Twitter | Contact) has covered the Mets since 2002. He previously worked for the Daily News and ESPN. He also serves as assistant athletic director for strategic communications at NYIT. He is a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the University of Pennsylvania.