Not long before the league shut down due to the ongoing pandemic, Mets right fielder Michael Conforto sustained an oblique strain that rendered him unlikely for Opening Day. The diagnosis came on March 11, just over two weeks from the since-postponed Opening Day, and the Mets didn’t provide a concrete timetable for Conforto’s expected return. The team still hasn’t put forth an official update on Conforto’s status — the indefinite delay to the season likely eliminated any urgency or obligation to do so — but the New York Post’s Mike Puma reports that Conforto is taking “regular” batting practice and appears to be largely back up to speed.
It’s been close to seven weeks since Conforto incurred what the club diagnosed as a Grade 1 strain of his right oblique. Grade 1 strains — the least severe on the scale — often sideline players for around a month or a bit more, although every injury situation is of course unique to the player in question. Still, it’s reasonable to expect based on his workout status and that historical context that Conforto would’ve been back up to speed by now. And it certainly stands to reason that whenever (or if) play is able to resume in 2020, that he’ll be ready to go for a second, abbreviated “spring” training camp.
The 27-year-old Conforto will be expected to play a pivotal role in the Mets’ offense, hitting in the heart of the order alongside the likes of reigning Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, J.D. Davis and a hopefully resurgent Robinson Cano. Conforto, the No. 10 overall pick in the 2014 draft, has solidified himself as the everyday right fielder and a well-above-average offensive contributor in parts of five seasons in Queens. He made his first All-Star team in 2017 and, over the past three years, has posted a combined .257/.363/.492 slash (129 wRC+, 131 OPS+) with 88 home runs, 74 doubles and three triples. He agreed to an $8MM salary this winter in his second trip through the arbitration process and remains under club control through the 2021 season.