Conforto on way back from injured list

Return pushed to Wednesday as precaution after Syracuse positive COVID test

June 23rd, 2021

NEW YORK -- The Mets’ march toward a full, healthy lineup is about to take another significant step forward, though not quite as quickly as the team originally intended. The Mets made plans to activate from the injured list in time for Tuesday’s game against the Braves, but they delayed that transaction shortly before game time.

Conforto had been rehabbing at Triple-A Syracuse, where a positive COVID-19 test from a member of the organization forced the postponement of Tuesday's game. Out of an abundance of caution, the Mets delayed activating Conforto until he could produce a negative test, which he did on Tuesday evening. The team plans to activate him in time for Wednesday’s series finale against the Braves.

“He’s doing great,” general manager Zack Scott said earlier Tuesday. “He’s actually exceeded our expectations, hit all of the objective markers on his strength, his hamstring. He’s ready to go.”

Conforto said earlier this year that he contracted COVID-19 about two weeks before reporting to Spring Training in February.

Of late, only Conforto’s right hamstring has been an issue; to that end, he passed all the markers necessary for the team to activate him several days ahead of schedule. When the Mets do so on Wednesday, they will add another significant piece back to their lineup. One of the Mets’ most important hitters, Conforto likely would have been an All-Star last season if not for the pandemic-shortened campaign. He hit a career-best .322/.412/.515 with nine home runs over 54 games, and he believes the time off this year helped him add strength to his legs.

“There’s no way I’m not stronger than I was before with all the stuff that we’ve been doing, hamstrings and lower body,” Conforto said earlier this month. “The rehab is enough to really make you want to get back on the field. Rehab is terrible. So I’m itching to get back out there.”

This year, Conforto was batting .230 with a .692 OPS in 33 games prior to straining his hamstring.

Conforto is the latest in a string of position players returning to health. The team activated Jeff McNeil, who had also been sidelined due to a strained hamstring, on Monday. The Mets are still without outfielder Brandon Nimmo, who is rehabbing a detached left-hand ligament at Syracuse, but he should return by the end of the month. Third baseman J.D. Davis, the last sidelined member of New York’s Opening Day lineup, is also tentatively scheduled to begin a Minor League rehab assignment within the next week or two. He is nursing a sprained left hand.

The pitching staff, however, is a different story, with Marcus Stroman, Joey Lucchesi, Noah Syndergaard, Carlos Carrasco and several relievers all nursing injuries.