PORT ST. LUCIE — Brandon Nimmo will embrace every opportunity he receives to start against left-handers this spring.
His first crack came Tuesday, when Nimmo went hitless in one at-bat against lefty Framber Valdez. Used as the DH in the Mets’ 2-0 victory at Clover Park, Nimmo finished 1-for-2.
Last season Nimmo posted an anemic slash line of .196/.317/.333 against lefties, prompting a new approach for this season: He plans to take batting practice each day against a lefty.
“Spring training is the perfect time to see as many lefties as I can because I just need to make adjustments,” Nimmo said. “I have seen what the numbers were last year, and I know there are improvements that need to be made, but I also have a belief in myself, given the opportunities, I will make adjustments.
“Just me going up there every single time and doing the same thing is not going to happen. I am either going to go up there with a different approach or different mechanic or different thought in the head in order to find something that is successful.”
One of the team’s right-handed options for center field, Albert Almora Jr., smashed a solo homer in the fifth inning. The Mets also have signed veteran Kevin Pillar, a right-handed bat who can play all three outfield positions.
Nimmo cited former Rockies star Todd Helton as somebody who regularly took batting practice against lefties to sharpen his skills. But Nimmo’s challenge over the winter was finding such a pitcher. Nimmo settled on an assistant clubhouse attendant.
“He was the only guy that is allowed to be in the stadium and he played in high school, so I would move up to 35-40 feet,” Nimmo said. “Went in there and did that all offseason.”
Sam McWilliams earned the save with a scoreless seventh inning that included two strikeouts — along with two baserunners allowed.
The right-hander signed a major league contract over the winter despite a journeyman minor league career, after increasing his velocity by changing his pitching style.
“He got tougher in a tough situation there and got out of a jam there, he got some swings and misses,” manager Luis Rojas said. “You could see that stuff just plays. Things are going to keep getting better for him.”
Mark Vientos, who has been developed as a third baseman, saw action at first base behind Pete Alonso and went 1–for-1. … Jeff McNeil had a solo homer in the second inning.