B-Mets' Batista running hot and cold

Wilson Batista had 25 steals in 2005.

If you were to ask Wilson Batista -- a young Binghamton Mets shortstop from the Dominican Republic who loves to steal bases -- who his favorite player happens to be, his answer shouldn't be a great surprise.

"My favorite player is Jose Reyes," Batista said. "That's my boy."

Like Reyes, who briefly served as Binghamton's shortstop in 2002, Batista is a stolen base machine.

The 25-year-old registered 25 steals in 129 games last year between Low-A Hagerstown and High-A St. Lucie. The previous season, Batista was able to steal 40 bases - 35 of them at Class-A Capital City.

But this year at Binghamton, Batista has struggled, stealing only four.

"He had the green light, but he was just not getting good jumps and not running on good counts to run on," said Binghamton manager Juan Samuel. "Now we control his running game, picking the situation for him to run, and hopefully he can improve on that so he can let him run on his own again."

This season has seen Batista's stolen bases drop, as well his production. Batista entered Friday's game against Trenton with a .218 batting average, having hit four home runs and driven in 18 runs in 58 games, but his numbers may be coming around.

Batista extended his season-high hitting streak to 10 games with a 2-for-5 game against New Britain on Thursday, the fifth multi-hit game of that stretch. Samuel said that his earlier struggles had been easily accounted for.

"Like many young hitters, [he was] trying to get too big with his swing, looking for the long ball instead of concentrating on making contact and getting base hits," Samuel said.

Last season at Hagerstown and St. Lucie, Batista batted .255 with 12 home runs, 50 RBIs and 74 runs scored, playing 107 games at his natural position, shortstop. Upon promotion to Binghamton, Corey Ragsdale's presence forced Batista to accept the challenge of playing second base, which he only played sparingly (22 games) at Hagerstown.

"All my life I've played shortstop," Batista said. "I feel better at short but I worked hard at second base. That's why now I'm doing a good job there."

Lately, with Carlos Gomez sidelined with an injury, Batista has been forced to bat leadoff for Binghamton. The move has quickly paid dividends for both Samuel and Batista, as the second baseman seems to be turning things around.

On the first day of June, Batista's solo home run gave Binghamton a 1-0 victory over Reading. The following game, Batista's eighth-inning RBI single proved to be the game winner in a 6-5 win over Harrisburg.

"Since he's been at the leadoff spot, he's been taking some pitches, working some walks," said Samuel. "Lately, he's been doing a great job for us."

Hopefully with his RBIs on the rise, Batista can get back to his old ways on the base paths.

"A bad jump is why I couldn't steal many bases, but now I'm working hard and I have [four] stolen bases to show for that," said Batista. "Hitting wise, I need to work on my swing, and overall I just need to be consistent."

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