Michael Conforto stood behind a table inside the Mets’ store at Citi Field, greeting fans, posing for pictures and handing out ticket vouchers in exchange for coats they were donating on this frigid Wednesday. Several fans also wanted inside information, asking him about the state of his left shoulder.
“I’m getting better,” Conforto told one of them at the 12th annual Mets “Warm-Up” Holiday Coat Drive. “Feels good.”
Dr. Neal ElAttrache did the repair job on a torn posterior capsule Sept. 6 after Conforto swung hard and missed Aug. 24, causing a dislocation.
The surgeon will evaluate his progress and map out the next steps in Los Angeles next week. General manager Sandy Alderson said earlier this week that he doesn’t believe Conforto will be good to go for Opening Day. Conforto said Alderson “doesn’t want me to rush it.” The 24-year-old outfielder is on the side of caution, too.
“Would it be the worst thing in the world to miss the first few games or the first week or so? I don’t think it would be the worst thing in the world,” Conforto said. “But I definitely want to be out there. We’ll see what happens. I’m going to take it slow, take it easy, and make sure I’m the same guy, effective player that I want to be out there.”
That player was a first-time All-Star with a .279/.384/.555 slash line, 27 homers and 68 RBIs in 109 games last season. Conforto said his rehab in Seattle has been “super boring,” that there have been “no setbacks,” and that the shoulder isn’t hurting “in everyday life.”
He’s looking forward to meeting with ElAttrache, saying, “From how I’m feeling, I think it’s going to be good stuff. But you never know. Once I get that news from the doctor, we’ll have a new plan based on what he sees. We’ll have a plan on when I’m going to start swinging, when I’m really going to start to work out the way that I want to.
“If I get to start swinging in a couple of weeks, I’ll only be a month behind.”
Conforto keeps a wooden symbol close by.
“I have a bat in my apartment just to hold,” Conforto said. “I can’t swing it yet, but I just want to feel it in my hands.”
His plan is to report to Port St. Lucie in late January. The odds that the shoulder will hold up are with him.
“The doctor has told me 99 percent, only because they can’t guarantee anything,” Conforto said. “But you really never see after this surgery the shoulder coming back out. So it’s just not something that goes through my mind.”