The Adrian Gonzalez experiment is over.
After the 36-year-old first baseman went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts in the Mets’ 2-0 win Sunday night over the Yankees, the Mets announced they were giving Gonzalez his unconditional release. Prospect Dominic Smith will be called up from Triple-A Las Vegas.
Gonzalez, 36, entered Sunday batting .241 with a .304 OBP in 53 games. He signed a one-year deal in the offseason following parts of six seasons with the Dodgers.
The first overall pick of the 2000 draft is a career .287 hitter.
“He hasn’t hit the ball in the air too much lately. For a guy that can’t run, that’s kind of a tough deal,” Mets hitting coach Pat Roessler said before Sunday’s game. “He knows what he’s doing. Like the rest of us, he’s in a funk.”
Gonzalez was never going to have a long leash with the Mets since they were only paying him the veteran’s minimum, and his time in Flushing had run its course.
The veteran had some productive games and played well during the team’s hot start, but cooled off. He finished his Mets’ tenure in a 3-for-28 skid.
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Smith should now have a chance to man first base at least until Yoenis Cespedes returns from the disabled list. The Mets are not as high on Smith, their 2013 first-rounder, as they once were, but he will have a chance to win them over.
The infielder has not been impressive this year with Class AAA Las Vegas, hitting just .260 with two homers a .713 OPS. That inconsistent production follows a rough spring training that included him being pulled from a lineup for showing up late to the park, and then suffering a right quad injury that sidelined him for the remainder of camp.
Smith has hit .198 with nine homers in 168 at-bats in the majors.
The Mets also designated Lobaton for assignment for the second time, and Kelly provides insurance while Asdrubal Cabrera deals with a tight right hamstring.
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