The Mets announced that Michael Conforto is heading to New York today, providing hope that the outfielder’s return could come sooner than originally anticipated. The team and its fans have anxiously been awaiting Conforto’s return to the lineup as he continues to recover from a September shoulder surgery.
MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo tweeted that Sandy Alderson said the team will decide early this week whether a rehab stint is necessary before his return to the major league club. Conforto is eligible to come off the disabled list on Thursday, April 5, which is well ahead of the original target date of May 1. If all goes well, he could join the Mets for their game against the division rival Washington Nationals.
Drafted number ten overall in the 2014 draft, Conforto has been one of the Mets’ brightest stars since his call-up. After making his debut in July of 2015 and helping the Mets clinch their sixth division title in franchise history, he became only the second Met to hit two home runs in a World Series game.
After enduring a tumultuous 2016 season that included a mid-season demotion to Triple-A, he enjoyed a breakout 2017 season. Conforto hit .279 with a career-high 27 home runs and 68 RBIs in 373 at-bats, primarily as a leadoff hitter. On August 24, he suffered a tear in the posterior capsule of his left shoulder after swinging and missing at a pitch, an injury that ended his season and required surgery.
Conforto’s return could complicate the outfield situation, but that is a problem the Mets are more than happy to deal with. Brandon Nimmo was the Mets’ most consistent offensive presence during spring training, leading the team with 19 hits and 62 at-bats. He followed that up with two hits on Opening Day as the Mets’ leadoff hitter. Nimmo is currently sharing time in center field with Juan Lagares.