Keon Broxton blames slump on Mets’ suspect ‘plan’ for him
WASHINGTON — Keon Broxton had a vision of how things would go when he started the season.
Reality, including the latest snapshot of him striking out with the bases loaded to end the Mets’ 7-6 loss to the Nationals on Thursday, has delivered a cold, hard and, at least for Broxton, unexpected slap to the face.
“From the start of the season, I’ve been surprised at why I haven’t been playing as much and why I haven’t got as many opportunities,” Broxton said after falling further into a 1-for-25 slump over his last 21 games. “It’s not like I started out bad. It’s just, it is what it is. They got a plan and they’re working with it. All I can do is just try to be ready.”
Broxton, who did start the year 4-for-9, said he has not broached the subject with GM Brodie Van Wagenen or manager Mickey Callaway.
“I don’t want to bring up anything, cause confusion through whatever they’re trying to do,” Broxton said.
Broxton was only in the game because the Mets had lost two outfielders to injuries. Juan Lagares replaced left fielder Jeff McNeil after he left with abdominal tightness in the third inning, and when Michael Conforto suffered a concussion while colliding with Robinson Cano in the fifth inning, Broxton was the next man up.
An offseason trade acquisition from the Brewers, Broxton is batting 7-for-49 with a .371 OPS. After starting four of the Mets’ first nine games and going 4-for-9, Broxton has started just six of the past 33 games and has gone 3-for-40 in that stretch.
The lack of playing time only puts more pressure on Broxton to produce when he does get at-bats, he said. That was the case Thursday, when he fanned with the tying run 90 feet away.
“One-hundred percent. One-thousand percent,” Broxton said. “Every time I get up there, I feel like I gotta do more than what I need to do, just to be able to keep playing. It’s tough.”
There will be an opening for playing time, with Conforto headed to the seven-day concussion injured list and McNeil potentially missing time, but Broxton may not be the first option. Third baseman J.D. Davis has been taking reps in left field recently and got an inning there Wednesday night. He will start in left Friday in Miami, Callaway later said on WFAN.
The Mets could also revisit Dominic Smith in left field — he started 10 games there last year — as they try to find ways to get his bat in the lineup.
“I’ll do anything,” Smith said.
There are no other options on the 40-man roster, but veterans Carlos Gomez and Rajai Davis have both been hitting well at Triple-A Syracuse.
“We’ll see how long these [absences] are, but somebody else is just going to have to step up,” Callaway said. “That’s how it is, that’s how it always will be and we’ll get it done.”
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