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PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — That’s it. The competition is over. Luis Guillorme won spring training.
The Mets’ super-utility infielder stepped up to the plate to leadoff the fifth inning against Cardinals righthander Jordan Hicks, who was making his first appearance since undergoing Tommy John surgery. Guillorme made it as difficult as possible for Hicks across an epic 22-pitch plate appearance that eventually — 12 minutes later to be exact — resulted in a walk.
It’s not like Hicks was throwing softballs, either. The Cards’ pitcher hurled six pitches that clocked in at 100+ mph, five of which Guillorme fouled off. Of the 22 pitches Hicks threw, only nine were outside the strike zone. Extraordinarily, Guillorme was down 0-2 in the count after Hicks’ second pitch before he fought back to take the walk. Hicks, despite the three-batter minimum rule, was removed from the game after facing just the one batter in Guillorme in the fifth inning.
“I think he made every single pitch, honestly,” Guillorme said. “Every single pitch was spotted.”
Guillorme’s 22-pitch battle topped the longest plate appearance on record since 1988, as far back as the data is available. And the reaction from his teammates on the bench, the crowd in Clover Park, and even the players in the opposing dugout was priceless. Dominic Smith wore an expression of disbelief on the bench. Pete Alonso was out of his seat, waving his arms up and down and riling up the crowd.
Kevin Pillar tweeted: “Unbelievable at bat there G. 22 pitches with a guy throwing 100+ ... Loved the boys in the dugout fired up!!”
Tomas Nido called Guillorme a “legend.” Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty, who watched from the bench on the other side, tweeted: “never seen an AB like that.”