Batista Keeps Battling

Oliveras pushes Batista for his best

It has been and up and down year for the B-Mets second baseman. After stints across three levels of the farm system in 2007, Batista still fights for consistency in his game. The coaching staff works closely with Batista as they look to round out his defense and improve his bat. He explained all these details when he recently sat down with Inside Pitch.

Wilson Batista moved to his right, almost directly behind the second base bag. He reached out to knock down the ball that bounded up the middle off the bat of Greg Jacobs. As Batista lunged his glove made contact with the ball, but it trickled away toward center field, allowing Randy Ruiz to score the go-ahead run from second base in the top of the 13th inning. The Reading Phillies tacked on another run in the frame, and the Mets went quietly in the bottom half, losing 5-3.

B-Mets manager Mako Oliveras said he thought his second baseman, who was 0-for-5 at the plate, carried his at-bats with him to the field.

"Sometimes the mistake that some of the players make is they don't hit and they carry that to their defense," Oliveras said. "The other day I saw (Batista) doing that, that's what his body language told me and I addressed that to him. He's a human being."

Batista, however, said that was not the case.

"No, (Oliveras) said that, but you know in that situation, where you got a man on second, you only think to hit the ball down," Batista said. "You don't want the ball to get to centerfield and the run to score. That's what I'm trying to do, that ball passes, that happens—that's why they gave (Jacobs) a base hit."

"(Oliveras) said, ‘Wilson, you have to catch that ball.' I know that, but I'm trying … I'm trying to catch the ball," Batista added in frustration.

The loss on June 12 at NYSEG Stadium was the B-Mets' eighth in their last 10 contests. When Batista joined the team on May 22, the B-Mets were just starting their best stretch of the season thus. They were winners in eight of Batista's first 11 games.

Batista started the season on the disabled list due to a broken hamate bone in his right hand that he suffered playing winter ball in Nicaragua. He made two starts with St. Lucie before being brought up to New Orleans for 12 games. Batista had just two hits in his first 22 at-bats for the Zephyrs, but was 7-for-17 in his final four contests before being sent to Binghamton.

"They got a lot of players (in New Orleans)," Batista said of his demotion. "They signed a new guy (Jake Gautreau), and they told me that's why I was sent down, because they signed one veteran guy there who played in the Major League before in Cleveland."

Batista, at 26-years-old, spent of all 2006 in Binghamton, but said he was not disappointed to return.

"I feel good, I feel great," he said. "I keep playing hard, and you never know when they'll call you to go to Triple-A again."

Entering Monday night, Batista was batting .264 with two home runs and has made four errors.

"I work hard on everything," he said. "I don't think about only one problem in myself: I'm hitting, I'm hitting, I'm taking ground balls, and I do everything."

At the plate, hitting coach Nelson Silverio said Batista, a switch-hitter, has a tendency to pull the ball when facing righties.

"With Wilson, I'm just looking for him to try to hit the ball to the right side," Silverio. "Sometimes he tries to pull everything--I want him to stay through the ball. In this league they do throw you in, but most of the time they're coming outside corner."

The B-Mets' recent struggles are not all Batista's fault. Oliveras said he was even considering giving Batista more responsibility in the lineup. "He's been good. I'm thinking of moving him out of the second spot to hitting behind (Brett) Harper because I think he can drive in more runs there. But we'll see."

In the field, Batista made it clear there's only one thing he does.

"I'm trying, I'm trying," he said. "That's the only thing I have to say."

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