Mets' Conforto returns, hits HR vs. Strasburg
Conforto batted leadoff and played center field in Thursday’s road game against Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg. Mets manager Mickey Callaway said Conforto requested to be activated for the game so he could face the right-hander.
“He wanted Strasburg,” Callaway said, when asked why Conforto was being activated without going on a rehab assignment first.
Conforto struck out and grounded into a double play in his first two at-bats against Strasburg, but he hit a two-run home run off him in the fifth inning.
“As a competitor, you want to go up against the best. They don’t get much better than him,” Conforto said following the Mets’ victory. “If we’re starting there, then we should be OK.”
Mets outfielder Jay Bruce, who hit a grand slam in the victory, joked about Conforto: “His first two at-bats were his rehab. And his third at-bat, he was ready.”
Conforto is now 3-for-17 with eight strikeouts in his career against Strasburg, although two of those hits are home runs.
Conforto, 25, enjoyed a breakout 2017 season before tearing a capsule in his left shoulder in late August. He batted .279 with 27 home runs and 68 RBIs in just 109 games.
Callaway said Conforto has no restrictions.
Infielder Phillip Evans was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas on Thursday to make room for Conforto on the 25-man roster.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.