The New York Mets received some good injury news as two of their key contributors took significant steps towards a return. Michael Conforto, who has been working his way back from shoulder surgery, took live batting practice for the first time today, MetsBlog.com’s Danny Abriano reports. The Mets also saw Jacob deGrom, who has yet to start this spring due to lower back soreness, toss 30 pitches in a simulated game yesterday without an issue.
Live batting practice is a significant step for Conforto, who had been limited to tracking pitches in the batting cage and hitting soft toss prior to today. Conforto admitted after the session that he wasn’t swinging at 100% yet, but that he was swinging “pretty hard” and feels no hesitation about his shoulder. The Mets have targeted a May 1 return for Conforto, who is reportedly ahead of schedule in the rehab process.
As far as deGrom goes, he completed two innings of a simulated game with Dominic Smith, Juan Lagares, and Tim Tebow without incident. Assuming he sticks to an every five day throwing schedule, deGrom would be set for his first exhibition start on March 11th. That would put deGrom in line to make four spring starts and be lined up to start the Mets’ second game of the season March 31st, when they host the St. Louis Cardinals. It might be a mild disappointment for deGrom, who likely would have made his first ever Opening Day start if the back issue didn’t pop up, but as long as he is healthy for the start of the season that is all that matters.