Jose Valentin has begun playing rehab games for Class A St. Lucie, and he is projected to return to the Mets next week. Willie Randolph has indicated that as long as Valentin is healthy, he will be the Mets' everyday second baseman. Given Valentin's historical woes against left handed pitching (.588 career OPS and .599 in 2006), I have always questioned the wisdom of starting Valentin against left handed pitching. If you add Easley's dominance against lefties this year in a limited sample (1.082 OPS in 40 plate appearances) to the equation, then, I believe, the decision becomes a no brainer. Even if you write off Easley's performance this year as an aberration, his .764 OPS against lefties from 2004-2006 provides evidence that Easley will hit better against lefties than Valentin.
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