PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Dominic Smith played through a partially torn labrum in his right shoulder for most of last season, he said Friday, but that will be the last time he tries to stay on the field with a major injury.
"Obviously it affected my play too much last year," Smith said of the issue, first reported by Sports Illustrated. "It’s something I’m going to be smarter about in the future."
That works for manager Buck Showalter, who said he wishes Smith had approached it "differently" in 2021 but added: "It also tells you all you need to know about him. He didn’t use it as an excuse."
Smith didn’t need surgery, and after an offseason of rest and physical therapy he said he is healthy and pain-free. The labrum might still be torn, but it hasn’t been affecting his swing, he said.
He expects to be much better than his .244/.304/.363 slash line from last season.
"That's just something that's always going to be there. I just have to manage it and stay on top of it," Smith said, adding later: "I’m just happy that I’m here. I’m happy the Mets still value me."
Showalter said one reason the Orioles kept Ryan Flaherty, a Rule 5 pick, in 2012, was because Flaherty brought two monkeys to the team’s spring-training talent show.
The monkeys allegedly threw batting practice to each other. The Orioles heard complaints from a humane society and the health department, which fined them for having the monkeys in the clubhouse, Showalter said.
"I’m looking around at the players and they’re going, ‘Are you [expletive] me?’ They thought it was a fake little man or something," the managed recalled. "They were little bitty ones. They were really freaky looking, man. They had eyes looking around."
Showalter added that he hopes to have a Mets talent show during spring training 2023.
Showalter was impressed with Carlos Carrasco, who threw two innings of live batting practice. If Carrasco is behind schedule after October right elbow surgery, it is barely . . . After backup-outfielder candidate Travis Jankowski made strong contact against Carrasco and Edwin Diaz, Showalter shouted encouragingly from the dugout: "I’ll see you in New York." . . . The Mets’ first round of cuts was one player: Jordan Yamamoto. He was sent to minor-league camp.