LOS ANGELES — Mets first baseman/left fielder Dominic Smith will play in the Dominican Winter League this offseason, according to a Wednesday announcement from his temporary team, Toros del Este.
Smith said he expects to play mostly the outfield, a position the Mets have attempted to teach him on the fly this season as he has bounced between Triple-A Las Vegas and the majors, where he has struggled in his limited chances.
“I’ve heard nothing but great things about playing winter ball,” Smith said. “Everybody who goes always tells me they had a great time.”
Manager Mickey Callaway said that in addition to getting extra reps in outfield and at the plate in a league filled with past, current and future big leaguers, Smith also will benefit from playing in the often-frenzied environment.
“One thing that you really get when you go play winter ball is, it is cutthroat,” Callaway said. “Every game you have to win. It’s a must-win situation, and you get more and more experience playing in games where you might get released the next day if you don’t perform.
“And I think there’s value to that. It’s tough to go play winter ball. There’s great players and there’s a lot of pressure. I think that really helps a player blossom and be the player he needs to be to play in the big leagues.”
Smith is hitting .200 with a .604 OPS in 33 majors-league games and slashed .258/.328/.380 in the minors.
As far as playing in an intense league, well, Smith feels ready for that.
“I’ve played in the big leagues, I’ve played in New York, I’ve made mistakes in New York,” Smith said. “So I guess it’ll definitely be like that, maybe not as intense. I’ve heard that they do get rowdy out there and they will cut you if you don’t start off hot. I’m really looking forward to the challenge.”
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