Mets outfielder Michael Conforto left this afternoon’s game against the Rays in the top of the first inning after pulling up lame while running to first base, Tim Healey of Newsday was among those to note (Twitter link). Conforto is dealing with right hamstring tightness, the Mets announced (via Mike Puma of the New York Post). Jake Hager replaced him in right field. Additionally, second baseman Jeff McNeil departed in the second inning with left hamstring tightness. McNeil, who was serving as the designated hitter in today’s interleague contest, was replaced at the position by catcher Patrick Mazeika.
It’s too early to know if either player is in danger of missing extended time. If Conforto winds up having to sit out, it’d be an especially difficult blow to a Mets outfield that’s already without Brandon Nimmo and depth option Albert Almora Jr. Nimmo, who has been out since May 3 with a left index finger contusion, was sent for further treatment due to continued pain, manager Luis Rojas told reporters (including Healey and Deesha Thosar of the New York Daily News) this morning.
Hager has almost exclusively worked as an infielder in the minors, making him a more natural potential replacement for McNeil. Utilityman José Peraza has spent some more time on the grass, but he’s also more of an infielder by trade. If Conforto winds up missing time, the Mets could turn to prospect Khalil Lee, who was recently optioned to Triple-A Syracuse after receiving his first big league call earlier in the week. If McNeil has to miss some games, non-roster veteran Brandon Drury could be an option, although he’s off to a poor start in Syracuse and would need to be added to the 40-man roster.
Conforto is hitting .232/.358/.339 over his first 134 plate appearances this season. That marks a downturn in production for the impending free agent, who slashed a robust .274/.376/.499 between 2019-20. McNeil is also having a bit of a down year relative to his past level of production, hitting .242/.336/.374 in 113 trips to the plate.