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Binghamton teammates sad to see Michael Conforto leave, but happy for him

New York Mets leftfielder Michael Conforto sits in

New York Mets leftfielder Michael Conforto sits in the dugout before a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday, July 25, 2015, at Citi Field. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

TRENTON, N.J. - Michael Conforto was here and then he was gone.

Binghamton Mets teammate Akeel Morris did not even get to say goodbye or share some parting thoughts on his major-league experience before Conforto departed for Queens to debut with the Mets on Friday.

"I was at the gym," said Morris, who made one relief appearance with the Mets in June. "I saw him at the stadium before and then he was gone."

The prevailing feeling in the Binghamton Mets' clubhouse before Saturday's game against the Trenton Thunder was twofold: sadness about seeing Conforto leave but excitement about watching his big-league career begin.

Conforto, who went 0-for-3 with an RBI in the Mets' 7-2 loss to the Dodgers Friday night, hit .312 with five homers and four outfield assists in 45 games with the Mets' Double-A affiliate. His teammates were sad to lose that production -- and the 22-year-old's humble but fun personality -- but they could not wait to see how it will translate in the majors.

"That guy, he's pretty special," said Brandon Nimmo, the Mets' 2011 first-round pick. "He definitely deserves it. He's been playing really well everywhere he's gone, and I couldn't be more happy for him. I'm just glad that he was able to contribute yesterday, and I'm sure he's going to continue to help."

The Mets chose Conforto with the 10th overall pick in the 2014 draft. The leftfielder hit .331 in 42 games with the Class A Brooklyn Cyclones that summer and played 46 games with Class A St. Lucie (.283, seven homers) this season before getting promoted to Binghamton.

The Mets called on Conforto to replace Michael Cuddyer (knee), who went on the disabled list Friday, and help boost an offense that entered Saturday night second-to-last in the majors with 331 runs and last with a .233 batting average.

Manager Pedro Lopez said he expects Conforto to fare well offensively and defensively despite his relative inexperience in professional baseball (133 minor-league games).

"I think he's a guy that's going to hit around .300," Lopez said. "I think he's going to end up hitting for some power as well, and he showed the ability to drive the ball to all fields here."

As for his defense?

"I think he's got a plus-arm from leftfield, and he's accurate, too," Lopez said. "That's another thing that I told [Terry Collins], that he's not going to embarrass you in leftfield. He's going to go out there and do his job. He throws to the right bases. He's a smart player all around."

Lopez and Nimmo said they were impressed by Conforto's approach and mentality.

"He carried himself like a professional on and off the field," Lopez said. "He came out to work every day. It didn't matter what the circumstances were. He never changed his approach, and days that he went 0-for, he came out the next day and kept working to make himself successful."

Said Nimmo: "If you were just around him in the clubhouse, you wouldn't suspect him to be as talented as he is. He doesn't really talk about it. He does everything by example."

Except, maybe, saying goodbye. But when the majors call, sometimes there is no time for that.

"We're sad to see him leave," Nimmo said, "but happy that he's in the big leagues now."

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