NEW YORK -- Michael Conforto played well enough in the first half of the season to earn a spot on this year's National League All-Star team. He was the only player to represent the Mets in Miami, and it was an honor bestowed unto him by his peers.
But in the weeks leading up to the event, Conforto was not playing like an All-Star. He landed on the 10-day disabled list after being hit on the left hand by a pitch in San Francisco. But he quelled any doubts that he was worthy of his All-Star selection during the Mets' 10-game homestand following the break, which ended with a 3-2 loss to the A's on Sunday.
Conforto homered for the fifth time in 10 games, and he is hitting .350 with three doubles and 11 RBIs in that span. Sunday also marked his fourth consecutive multi-hit game, and he's now on a seven-game hitting streak. His solo shot in the third inning opened the scoring on the Mets' side and hit off the facade of the porch in the Coca-Cola Corner, traveling an estimated 395 feet and leaving the bat at 106.2 mph.
"There's gonna be high times [and] low times," Conforto said after the game. "I think it's just been trying to stay within myself, stay relaxed, just get back to doing what I do. So I don't think I've really changed much."
After the Mets' May 24 game against the Padres, Conforto was hitting .341 with 13 home runs. His average fell to .284 by the All-Star break, as he found himself mired in a slump that saw him hit .204 with one home run and nine RBIs over 29 games (24 starts).
Then, Conforto took the ball off the hand on June 25 against the Giants and was placed on the disabled list.
"I think it was frustrating for me to have to miss some time," Conforto said. "I didn't look at it as something that was a low point in my season. I think I saw it as maybe just part of the journey. I wanted to make sure I didn't change anything when I came back. I think my hitting coaches and everybody kind of helped me just kind of make sure I was doing all of the right things and keep my swing where it was before."
Whether the adjustments are tangible or Conforto simply endured the typical ups and downs of a season, he is back to playing at the All-Star-caliber level the Mets need from him as they hold onto a chance to reenter the postseason picture.
Defensively, Conforto has also made noticeable improvements. He reeled in a Jed Lowrie fly ball that reached the wall in the seventh inning of Sunday's game, running straight back to haul it in. He takes fly balls off the bat before every game, something manager Terry Collins frequently marvels at. Conforto feels that his ability to play all three outfield positions helps him stay in the lineup -- not that his recent play leaves Collins much of a choice.
"I'm always positive about this team and our chances," Conforto said.
"We're doing all the right things, we just have to string a few more wins together in a row."