Since going 1-for-1 with a single back on February 24, Mets first baseman Dominic Smith hasn’t appeared in a Grapefruit League game due to a right quad strain. The team is hoping that he’ll be healthy enough to play this Sunday, but Smith doesn’t seem confident that his return is coming anytime soon.
“Your guess is as good as mine,” Smith told reporters on Tuesday when asked what date he might play. The injury doesn’t do anything to help fans’ confidence in the first base situation. Adrian Gonzalez was brought in on a minimum major league deal to be the veteran starter, but he has so far looked too much like the guy who struggled for the Dodgers in 2017. In Grapefruit League action for the Mets, Gonzalez is hitting .192/.276/.231 with just one extra-base hit, a double.
Gonzalez’s poor play in spring training shouldn’t mean that much, but every year we see players make or miss the Opening Day roster due to their performance in Florida. It’s possible that if Smith gets on the field soon and rakes for a week that he can convince the Mets that he should be the team’s starting first baseman. However, the youngster’s quad injury is making that scenario look less and less like a reality.
If Smith does appear in New York’s game against Baltimore on this Sunday, March 18, he’ll be able to play in a maximum of seven Grapefruit League games before the regular season opens on March 29.
Many Mets fans are frustrated by the team’s reliance on Gonzalez, especially since other first base options like Adam Lind and Neil Walker have been recently signed to cheap contract by the Yankees. However, all signs point to New York giving the veteran a chance at the everyday job to begin the campaign.