DENVER — While the Rockies were still celebrating on the field Neil Walker and Jay Bruce made a beeline for Amed Rosario. The veterans wanted to make sure the rookie didn’t walk off the field after his major league debut thinking it had been anything but a success.
Rosario got caught breaking to cover second base on a groundball to short and had to double back. He was unable to make a play, putting the Rockies’ winning run on third base. They scored the walk-off win on the next batter.
Walker told reporters that he thought Rosario played it as well as he could and made sure the 21-year old knew that too.
“That’s a hard play for anybody. Big situation in the ninth inning of a game that is obviously very meaningful for them too. That’s tough for anybody,” said Walker, who said that he had told Rosario to wait as long as he could and then cover second on that play. “We just want to make sure, he didn’t think he did something wrong.”
Overall, Walker was impressed with the rookie’s performance.
“It was a good first day for him in the big leagues,” Walker said after the Mets lost 5-4 to the Rockies Tuesday night.
The most anticipated Mets prospect since Michael Conforto made his major league debut in 2015, Rosario made several nice defensive plays early in the game, showing that his range and young legs can help the Mets’ struggling infield defense.
He went 1-for-4 at the plate, getting his first major league hit on a sharp ground ball into the hole at shortstop. Rosario beat it out and took second on Rockies’ shortstop Trevor Story’s throwing error.
“He did fine,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “He’s a good player, you can tell by his actions on the field, made some good plays, he’s going to be fine.”
That was clear Tuesday night. Rosario looks like he will be a solid major league player for the Mets for years to come.
But it was also clear that the Mets are going to go through some growing pains over the next two months too. Mets GM Sandy Alderson said they had basically shifted into preparing for the 2018 season in the last week by dealing Addison Reed and Lucas Duda for prospects, adding closer AJ Ramos and calling up Rosario to give him major league experience.
Rosario’s instincts are solid, but he will be learning on the job for the rest of this season. And the Mets plan to bring up Dominic Smith soon, and he will be learning on the fly as well.
Jose Reyes stepped in this spring to help guide Rosario and mentor him before his first big league game. Bruce and Walker stepped up too Tuesday night to help the Mets top prospect through his first challenge as a major leaguer.
“There are a lot of things come into this market and you are the franchise all the sudden, there are a lot of things on your plate,” Collins said. “To have those veterans take something off it, yeah, it’s pretty cool. We have that kind of clubhouse, we’ll get through it fine.
“He shouldn’t be upset with that,” Collins said. “That was a tough play to make.”
And Tuesday night, Rosario learned a very important lesson that will not only get him through the next two months, but the rest of his career.
“It really means a lot that they are there for me like that. It’s just part of the game,” Rosario said of that ninth inning play. “You shake it off. I’ve already forgotten it. I will be back with a new mindset and a lot of faith tomorrow.”
And not even a game-defining play, one that Rosario said was probably the most difficult he has seen in baseball, could ruin the special night for him.
It was the first step for him and the Mets.
“Just the whole thing is just the best memory to take away,” Rosario said. “Because it’s the first day in a new chapter of my life of reaching my dreams.”
Send a Letter to the Editor