PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- It seemed little coincidence that manager Mickey Callaway and owner Fred Wilpon both lingered on the same back field Saturday morning, watching the proceedings at Mets camp. Yes, Matt Harvey was throwing live batting practice and that's always a draw. But for the Mets, there
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- It seemed little coincidence that manager Mickey Callaway and owner Fred Wilpon both lingered on the same back field Saturday morning, watching the proceedings at Mets camp. Yes, Matt Harvey was throwing live batting practice and that's always a draw. But for the Mets, there was perhaps no more welcome sight than Michael Conforto digging into the left-handed batter's box.
Recovering from left shoulder surgery, Conforto has not yet been cleared to swing. But he nonetheless stood in against Harvey, tracking pitches to keep his timing as sharp as possible.
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Conforto and the Mets have been quiet regarding his timetable, admitting only that he won't be ready for Opening Day. An early reporter to Mets camp, Conforto continues to throw daily with his right, non-surgically repaired arm as he works toward resuming full baseball activities.
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In addition to Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler, Seth Lugo and prospect Corey Oswalt all threw live batting practice on Saturday.
Lean on me
When the Mets filled out Callaway's inaugural coaching staff this winter, they did not include a single person with managerial experience.
Callaway considers that a non-issue given the years of service time hitting coach Pat Roessler, pitching coach Dave Eiland and others have accrued throughout long baseball careers. Callaway's bench coach, Gary DiSarcina, has spent the past four years in big league dugouts, including a 2017 stint as longtime manager John Farrell's bench coach in Boston.
From Farrell, DiSarcina said, he learned how to prepare for opponents and manage games. He plans to apply those lessons to the dugout in Flushing.
"I think the most important thing is to physically stay next to him, stay by him, and not hold back if I see something or I think something that could work," DiSarcina said. "And it's not just going to be in the dugout. It's going to be pregame, pre-series."
If DiSarcina is doing his job, he said, he will begin peppering his manager with situational advice in the middle innings, offering pinch-hit and defensive substitution suggestions so that Callaway can focus on the pitching side of things.
"He should never feel alone as a manager," DiSarcina said. "It's a tough market, New York, big league baseball. In big markets, it can be a microscope sometimes."
"He immediately caught my eye. That's what they look like, a big league shortstop, impact player. … There's not a lot of those guys around." --DiSarcina, a Major League shortstop for 12 seasons, on Amed Rosario.
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.