The ball laid on the top shelf of Juan Lagares’ new locker at Citi Field. A yellow piece of paper taped on read, in red marker, “First ML Hit 4/23/13.”

The whirlwind day for Lagares began when he boarded a red-eye flight from Colorado Springs and landed in New York at 9 a.m. join the Mets after the team unexpectedly called him up from Triple-A Las Vegas.

It concluded Tuesday night with a 7-2 loss to the Dodgers in his Mets debut, but the night was memorable nonetheless as the center fielder tallied his first major-league hit off left-hander Paco Rodriguez in the seventh inning.

“When I got to the dugout, all my teammates said ‘Congratulations,’” Lagares said. “For me, that feels good.”

Lagares entered the game in the top of the fifth inning to play center field as part of a double-switch. He lined out to left field in his first at-bat.

“I really don’t know how to say it,” said Lagares, who wore No. 12. “I’m so excited to be here with the team.”

Lagares, 24, was promoted in place of outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who was optioned to Las Vegas after hitting .125 (2-for-16).