NEW YORK — The ailing New York Mets appear close to getting one of their middle-of-the-order bats back.
Right fielder Michael Conforto, who suffered a concussion on May 16, could return over the weekend against the Detroit Tigers.
“I think we’re optimistic that it’s going to be (Saturday or Sunday),” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said on Friday.
Conforto has been symptom-free for about a week, but still must be cleared by MLB as part of its concussion protocol before he can return to the team.
“I feel good. I feel 100 percent. Just taking it day-by-day,” Conforto said. “This is kind of my first day without restrictions. So I’m going to be having some conversations with (GM) Brodie (Van Wagenen), Mickey and the training staff, and obviously MLB has to clear me first. So we’ll see.”
Conforto suffered the injury when he collided with second baseman Robinson Cano as the two were converging on a pop-up down the right-field line in Washington. Cano’s shoulder caught Conforto right in the face, and Conforto looked dazed when he got up.
“I remember everything leading up to it, and then I didn’t realize at first that I had been knocked out,” Conforto said. “I thought I just hit him, hit the ground and then I was dizzy getting up. But afterward I watched the video and there were probably about 10 seconds that I (don’t remember). It’s new to be. I’ve never been knocked out. It was definitely a bummer, but I’m good now.”
Conforto does not expect flying to be an issue. In 2009, Ryan Church suffered multiple concussions while on the Mets, and his post-concussion symptoms were exacerbated on a flight to Colorado, essentially ending his career.
“I think they said as long as you’re symptom-free they don’t really have a problem with you flying,” Conforto said. “If I was having headaches or feeling groggy or having any pressure in my head, that’s one thing. But since I’ve been symptom-free for almost a week, flying is not a big deal for me right now.”
The Mets have missed the 26-year-old’s presence in their lineup. Conforto is hitting .271/.406/.521 with nine homers and 21 RBIs.
Recently, the team has promoted veteran outfielders Carlos Gomez and Rajai Davis from Triple-A Syracuse. The Mets also claimed outfielder Aaron Altherr off waivers.
On Friday, they agreed to minor-league deals with veteran pitcher Ervin Santana and veteran outfielder Matt Kemp, pending physicals.