7:28pm: Carlos Gomez was removed from tonight’s Triple-A game, leading MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo to speculate that the Mets will purchase Gomez’s contract before Friday’s game.
5:27pm: Mets outfielder Michael Conforto suffered a concussion after a scary collision with teammate Robinson Cano during today’s game. Both Conforto and Cano were chasing after a Howie Kendrick fly ball near the right field line when their signals got crossed, causing Cano to accidentally elbow Conforto in the head.
Conforto was immediately removed from the game, and will head back to New York for further observation, as manager Mickey Callaway told reporters (including Newsday’s Tim Healey) after the game. Conforto will be sidelined for at least a week, as per the league’s seven-day concussion IL policy.
The 26-year-old was off to a fantastic start in 2019, hitting .271/.406/.521 with nine home runs over his first 180 plate appearances. As per the advanced metrics, Conforto even had room to grow, as his .387 wOBA still trailed behind his .405 xwOBA. Between this hot hitting and an above-average defensive showing as New York’s everyday right fielder, Conforto has already amassed 1.6 fWAR, tying him with Nolan Arenado for 18th among all players.
With Conforto out of action, the Mets could be further shorthanded in the outfield for at least a day or two since Jeff McNeil also left today’s game with abdominal tightness. The good news in McNeil’s case is that the injury doesn’t seem serious, as he told reporters (including The Athletic’s Tim Britton) that he has faced similar issues before in the wake of multiple hernia operations.
Speaking with WFAN’s Mike Francesca this afternoon (hat tip to SNY.tv’s Steve Gelbs), Callaway said that J.D. Davis will handle left field duties on Friday, indicating that McNeil will miss at least one game. As for the longer-term absence of Conforto, the Mets have Keon Broxton and Juan Lagares on the 25-man roster, though both have struggled badly at the plate. Veterans Carlos Gomez, Gregor Blanco, and Rajai Davis are all on hand at the Triple-A level, though any of that trio would need to be added to the 40-man roster.
It’s hard to necessarily forecast anything until we know the severity of Conforto’s injury, as concussion symptoms can potentially linger. If he faces an absence of weeks rather than days, the Mets might want to consider giving Dominic Smith another look in left field, as the team hasn’t allowed him any outfield work this year, Newsday’s David Lennon writes. Smith offers far more hitting upside than any of the Mets’ other backup outfielders, and while Smith has hit very well in limited playing time this season, his spot at first base has been blocked by rookie sensation Pete Alonso.