Agent: Piazza willing to spend time at first
Mike Piazza will play first base for the Mets next season. The only question is how many games he will play there.
According to Piazza's agent, the catcher is ready and willing to be flexible in 2004.
"I can tell you this: Mike will do whatever it takes to help the team win," Dan Lozano told the New York Post. "As far as how much he's willing to play first base, that's something we haven't discussed yet."
Piazza played one inning at first in the Mets' final home game on Sept. 25.
According to ESPN.com's Peter Gammons, the Orioles would be interested in seeing if Piazza and the Mets are interested in a deal that would allow him to catch half the games and DH the other half with the O's. With the DH in play, the American League could be a better fit for Piazza, now 35, but the Mets have not indicated that they would be willing to trade him.
"Our plan, after having discussions with Mike at the end of the season, is for him to play an undefined amount of time at first base, to be determined based on how he makes the adjustment in spring training," Mets general manager Jim Duquette told the newspaper. "But he's been supportive of that move and never given us any indication that he's resisting that move."
Piazza has been vacationing in Italy with his parents and will start his offseason regimen when he returns. Last year's groin injury limited him to 234 at-bats (11 homers and 34 RBI).
"Does he feel like he has something to prove? No," Lozano told the newspaper. "Does he feel like wants to be back to [putting] up 35 homers and 100 RBI? Absolutely."
Jason Phillips, who caught and played first base last season, will likely split backstop duties with Piazza. Phillips hit an impressive .298 in 2003.