Conforto celebrates b-day with HR, Oreo balls

March 1st, 2020

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Every year since turned pro, his birthday has landed during Spring Training. He’s just never celebrated it quite like this. Facing David Hernandez in the sixth inning of Sunday’s 3-1 split-squad Mets win over the Nationals, Conforto sent his first spring homer over the fence in right.

It was also Conforto’s first extra-base hit of the Grapefruit League season, which might be surprising to anyone with a view of his batting practice sessions this spring. Consistently spraying the ball to all fields, Conforto not only homered on his first pitch of live BP last month, but he has routinely put on shows before games.

Sunday, Conforto bemoaned a third-inning strikeout that, in his eyes, would have been an easy walk had he not been so “jumpy” and “overanxious” at the plate. He made up for it three innings later with his homer.

“I’ve felt pretty good over the last couple weeks,” Conforto said. “There are still things you have to lock in a little bit, but so far, so good.”

This winter, Conforto and hitting coach Chili Davis stayed in constant contact, drawing up a plan that would help Conforto better balance himself at home plate. His birthday homer provided some vindication that the plan is working.

As for the rest of his birthday, Conforto planned to “take tonight and enjoy it, hang with my dog and my girlfriend and grab some burgers,” then spend Monday’s team off-day golfing with his teammates. His preferred birthday treat? Oreo balls, which include crushed-up Oreos in a truffle-like filling.

Lugo vs. Céspedes

Those two homers Yoenis Céspedes hit off Seth Lugo during live batting practice on Sunday? They didn’t bother the right-hander.

"The second one where he fell down, he just got it in the wind,” Lugo said, referring to a swing that sent Céspedes to the dirt. “The first one, that was a good swing, but I wouldn't pitch him like that in a real game, so I knew what I was getting into."

The live BP session was Lugo’s first since fracturing his left pinky toe last month. He expects to make his Grapefruit League debut in the coming days, though Mets manager Luis Rojas would not confirm that that’s the plan.

Still scoreless

A day after Steven Matz blanked the Astros over two innings, Michael Wacha made his own rotation pitch with three shutout innings in a game the other half of the Mets’ split squad lost to the Marlins, 7-1. Wacha, who is competing against Matz for a rotation job, has thrown five scoreless innings so far this spring.

From the trainer’s room

The Mets still do not have an update on non-roster first baseman Matt Adams, whom they scratched shortly before Thursday’s game to undergo cardiac screening. Adams has missed four straight games; Rojas said he had no details on Adams’ status.

When the Mets scratched Brandon Nimmo for a similar reason last week, he missed only two games.

Up next

Following a team off-day on Monday, Noah Syndergaard will make his second spring start when the Mets host the Marlins in a 1:10 p.m. ET game at Clover Park on Tuesday.