Michael Conforto has progressed about as well as he and the Mets could have wanted. He fully expects to play in a Grapefruit League game next week.— Mike Puma (@NYPost_Mets) March 13, 2018
Good news pertaining to an injury for this team is so foreign that I don't even know how to react. But getting Conforto into their lineup sooner rather than later (presumably somewhere in mid-April) would be a major coup for the Mets. New York hasn't publicly moved off that May 1 return date, but given the timeline, it certainly seems like Conforto has a chance to beat it.
Of course, that would also give the Mets less time to see if Brandon Nimmo's torrid spring is for real, decide what to make of Juan Lagares' re-worked offensive approach, and find out if Adrian Gonzalez has anything left in the tank. But the Mets will gladly deal with those problems if it means getting Conforto back earlier than expected.
Conforto's break out 2017 season seems so long ago that it's easy to forget how much of a difference maker he was. But we're talking about a guy who slashed .279/.384/.555 with 27 homers in just 440 plate appearances. Throw him into a lineup with a Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier, and a healthy Yoenis Céspedes and the Mets are going to score a lot of runs.
The one thing I'd do quickly though is starting getting Bruce some reps at first base. Bruce told reporters last week that he feels he can be a solid first baseman, but since he hasn't taken any grounders there yet this spring, he isn't prepared to be right now.
That matters, because with the way Nimmo has been playing this spring, the Mets can't afford to banish him to the bench at the first sight of Conforto. Imagine if the.369 OBP Nimmo has posted at the MLB level thus far translates to a full season. That means the Mets could, at least in theory, go with a lineup that looks like this:
So this news is encouraging, and Mets fans should be pumped to get Conforto back as soon as possible, maybe even sooner than expected. It just has the chance to shorten the amount of time the Mets have to solve a few questions about their current make up.
If you're hitting the final home game on Thursday at Citi Field, swing by the Marina Lot to see some friends, maybe meet some new ones, and responsibly wash down your sorrows before heading inside.