New York Mets infielders Jett Williams during a spring training...

New York Mets infielders Jett Williams during a spring training workout, Tuesday Feb. 20, 2024 in Port St. Lucie FL. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

ARLINGTON, Texas — At the start of a lost season, Jett Williams had big — and big-league — dreams.

He entered 2024 as the Mets’ top prospect and figured, if he did well in the minors, he could get called up to the majors. He opened the year with Double-A Binghamton, so it was feasible, even at age 20.

But then, about as soon as spring training ended, his right wrist started to bother him. And then that pain and soreness didn’t go away, to such an extent that he struggled to grip a bat. And then a cortisone shot — and a second cortisone shot — failed to alleviate what the Mets initially thought was inflammation.

Eventually, Williams, the Mets and their doctors determined that he needed surgery, which he had this month.

If he returns before the end of the season, it would be a pleasant surprise, he said. His goal is to get back on the field during the Arizona Fall League.

“There’s no rush to get back at this point,” Williams, wearing a brace, said Tuesday afternoon at Globe Life Field. “You want it healthy and you want to be at the best of your ability for next year, or when I go play in the fall league.”

Williams was at the ballpark visiting the Mets before their game against the Rangers at the request of manager Carlos Mendoza, who told him to come hang out after he found out Williams attended as a fan Monday night. For Williams, it was a home game. He grew up in nearby Heath and has been based in the Dallas area during his non-baseball phase of his rehabilitation.


That isn’t always the case for injured prospects — being at home instead of Port St. Lucie, Florida, with the Mets’ personnel — but it was Williams’ preference.

The Mets were OK with it for a couple of reasons, including because Williams is working at a highly regarded facility, the Texas Metroplex Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedic Surgery. According to a person familiar with their thinking, they also view the mental aspect of a grueling, boring process as very significant. So if being around friends and family helps Williams in that way, all the better.

“It has its perks and it doesn’t,” Williams said. “Being home is fun, but I’d definitely rather be playing. But injuries happen, so I can’t really control it now.”

Now, it’s about getting better. At the time of Williams’ surgery, the Mets estimated he would be out eight to 10 weeks, which would set up a return in early or mid-August. But they might not be that aggressive.

But given the importance of Williams to the Mets’ future — as a first-round draft pick in 2022 and a speedy multiposition bat with a habit of getting on base and stealing bases — patience has been the approach from that start of this injury episode. Asked further about the AFL, which runs a six-week schedule starting in early October, Wiliams said he hopes to “at least do something” then.

The point would be to play catch up. He played in only 11 injury-hampered games.

“Just at-bats,” he said. “Honestly, making sure my wrist is healthy. I know I missed a year, but most importantly, getting back to 100% and not having to deal with any of this anymore. That’s only the biggest thing: getting back healthy and staying on the field next year.”

So it’s all about 2025 when, yes, the goal once again will be to make it to the majors.

“I was disappointed (with how this season has played out),” Williams said. “Obviously, I want to play. There was stuff going around that I could make my major-league debut this year. I think everything happens for a reason. Ultimately, God has a plan for me, so I just trust in his plan. That’s all you can really think about. Whatever his plan is, is the best plan. It was take this year off, I guess. Just looking forward to next year and playing a whole year again.”

A homecoming

Drew Smith’s scoreless ninth inning Monday night marked a special occasion: his first time pitching in his hometown.

He grew up in the area as a Rangers fans, rooting for the likes of Michael Young, Hank Blalock and Mark Teixeira and frequently attending games at the team’s old ballpark, still standing across the street from the new one.

“I can’t even tell you how many games I went to,” Smith said. “It was awesome. It was cool to pitch in front of my family and friends for the first time.”

Extra bases

Kodai Senga (right shoulder strain) is scheduled for another bullpen session Wednesday. If that goes well, he could advance to pitching to hitters this weekend . . . Brandon Nimmo’s four consecutive multihit games through Monday matched the longest streak of his career.


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