Conforto's 1st HR sets tone for Mets' big night
Rookie hits 3-run shot to jumpstart Monday's 12-1 rout of Marlins
MIAMI -- Michael Conforto isn't even supposed to be here with the Mets. He watched Saturday's game from a Queens hotel room, ready to board a flight back to Las Vegas the next day. But Conforto is still here, still in the Majors, and is making the most of every last kernel of sand in his big league hourglass.
In his first game appearance since a one-day quasi-demotion to Triple-A Las Vegas, Conforto hit his first career homer -- a monstrous, three-run blast to center field that Statcast™ projected to land 435 feet away, with an exit velocity of 112 mph. The home run was Conforto's first hit since a 4-for-4 game on July 25 against the Dodgers, snapping an 0-for-12 stretch at the plate and providing the first three runs in the Mets' 12-1 rout of the Marlins on Monday.
"That ball was crushed," said Mets manager Terry Collins. "That ball goes out of any park."
"It's the best feeling in the world," Conforto said.
Though the organization has high hopes for its No. 2 prospect according to MLB.com, and most recent first-round Draft pick, Conforto became expendable when the Mets traded for Yoenis Cespedes last week. Wanting to give him more development in the Minors, the club optioned him to Las Vegas upon Cespedes' arrival.
But Kirk Nieuwenhuis' neck injury forced them to rescind that option one day later; luckily for Conforto, he had not yet boarded a flight to Vegas. The outfielder sat on the bench for the Mets' Sunday night win over the Nationals at Citi Field, before starting Monday's series opener in Miami. He is expected to remain on the roster until starting left fielder Michael Cuddyer returns from the DL, perhaps as soon as this weekend.
Then again, a few more displays of power like Monday's could force the Mets to consider keeping Conforto around even longer. After the team bartered with a fan to reclaim the home run ball, Conforto said he planned to give it -- like the ball from his first big league hit -- to his grandfather.
"I've tried not to let myself get too up and down," Conforto said. "Being demoted, I understood the situation completely. They explained it to me and I was OK with it. And obviously coming back, it was great news. I was excited. I try not to ride that roller coaster too much, but I'm definitely glad I'm back."