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Mets outfield gets more crowded with return of Juan Lagares

The center fielder's return from injury did not result in the demotion of Michael Conforto.
Juan Lagares' return to the Mets gives Terry Collins five legitimate outfield options that could play every day. (Getty Images)
What a good problem Mets manager Terry Collins has on his hands. 
 
On Thursday, the team announced that it activated center fielder Juan Lagares from the disabled list after recovering from an oblique injury he suffered late in spring training. 
 
The oft-injured Lagares is one of the best defensive outfielders in the game, albeit inconsistent with the bat at times, making his spot on the big-league roster a given heading into the 2017 season. 
 
The problem was that Collins and the Mets had to contend with choosing a roster filled to the brim with veteran outfielders that solidified their starting jobs.
 
No way was Yoenis Cespedes, Jay Bruce or Curtis Granderson, who could combine for 100 home runs this season, losing their jobs despite Lagares, Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo contending for roster spots. 
 
Conforto was originally considered the odd man out despite having a hot spring training. At just 24 years old, he was coming off a dreadful .220 campaign that resulted in a trip to triple-A during the 2016 season.
 
It was a sudden and hard fall from grace for the highly-touted prospect that became just the second Met ever to hit two home runs in a World Series game in 2015.
 
But he was given the spot after both Nimmo and Lagares went down with injuries.
 
He's not giving it up that easy despite Lagares' return. 
 
In the seven games that Conforto has appeared in, he's batting .400 with two home runs and three RBIs. 
 
Instead of moving Conforto, Collins optioned reliever Paul Sewald to triple-A to make New York's outfield a little more crowded. 
 
Regardless, the two reserve outfielders will likely have designated roles to ensure they get enough playing time. 
 
Considering Granderson is left-handed, Lagares will provide a right-handed bat off the bench and will be used as a defensive replacement in the late innings of games. 
 
Conforto could bounce between each corner outfield spot and should be the go-to pinch hitter against right-handed pitchers.