Unfortunate timing. That’s the best and most appropriate way to describe the latest injury in the New York Mets‘ roster. Michael Conforto looks set to open the season on the injured list after being diagnosed with a right oblique strain.
Oblique injuries are very tricky and should be managed with caution, especially by baseball players. They have a rather high re-aggravation rate, and the best thing is giving it plenty of time and letting it heal naturally.
Conforto underwent an MRI back in Florida after getting injured last weekend while making a catch in the outfield. The Mets’ doctors will re-evaluate the 27-year-old slugger next week, and they will have a better idea of how much time he will miss then.
The Mets’ outfield depth situation
Suddenly, the New York Mets’ outfield depth has been tested in the last couple of weeks. Yoenis Cespedes is still not all the way back following multiple heel surgeries and an ankle fracture (although he is moving in the right direction) and J.D. Davis recently overcame a jammed left shoulder that he also injured during spring training play.
Thankfully, Mets’ manager Luis Rojas has options to survive without Conforto for the start of the season. The team brought defensive whiz Jake Marisnick via trade in the offseason, and Brandon Nimmo and Dominic Smith can play there, as well. In case of an emergency, Jeff McNeil can also defend left field.
However, it can’t be denied that the Mets’ lineup will suffer from Conforto’s absence. He has been, over the last few years, arguably the most consistent slugger on the roster.
The Mets’ starting right fielder had one of his best years at the plate in 2019. He connected a career-high 33 home runs, and slashed .257/.363/.494, good for a 126 wRC+. Essentially, his offensive production was 26 percent above average. He also scored 90 runs and drove in 92.