WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — Back with the Mets for at least a day, Dominic Smith acknowledged Sunday that this season has been a “weird” one for him and that his expectations at the outset haven’t matched up at all with reality.
“It’s definitely a weird year,” he said. “But it’s something you can learn from.”
His weekend cross-country trip occurred because the Mets were allowed to have a 26th player for the Little League Classic against the Phillies on Sunday night. Mickey Callaway declined to say whether he will stick around longer. Smith had a pinch-hit double in the eighth.
It was the latest stage of an unusual season for Smith. He began spring training by oversleeping and being late for a meeting, and he was benched for a day as punishment. Then he strained his right quadriceps, effectively ending his competition for the first-base job with the since-released Adrian Gonzalez and costing him almost all of the exhibition season. He opened the year in the minors, was called up twice, played inconsistently while in the majors and then played poorly with Triple-A Las Vegas.
Smith, 23, has been playing the outfield — mostly left — which he called a “work in progress.” He is batting .183 with a .216 on-base percentage and .324 slugging percentage in the majors and has a .242/.300/.429 slash line since returning to Las Vegas about a month ago.
“My expectations, what I wanted to accomplish this year, were definitely different than [what has happened],” Smith said. “I wanted to be up here all year. I wanted to be one of the guys that they talk about on TV. I wanted to be the Gleyber Torres, the [Ronald] Acuña [Jr.], the [Ozzie] Albies. I know that’s the potential I have. I can do that.”
The Mets have said Smith will get another look in the majors this season. First base will be a busy position the final six weeks, though. Jay Bruce also is expected to see time there upon his return, potentially in the next couple of days.
What does Smith want to show the organization?
“That I belong here,” he said. “I want to be a part of the future. I’m definitely going to work my butt off and leave it all out on the field. That’s all I can do.”
Mets bullpen coach Ricky Bones, a veteran of 11 major-league seasons, spent time Sunday with the Little League World Series team from Guayama, Puerto Rico, his hometown.
When he was on the squad in 1981, Carlos Texidor — now the team’s manager — was the third-base coach.
“It brought me back to how everything started,” Bones said of hanging out with the kids. “It’s pretty cool that they made it all the way here and we’re here to see them.”
The Mets are considering putting Brandon Nimmo (bruised left index finger) on the disabled list, in which case they could keep Smith. Nimmo said his finger is “not very good.” . . . David Wright went 2-for-3 and scored a run Sunday for high Class A St. Lucie, his first hits in six rehab games. He played five innings at third base. Bruce (strained hip) went 2-for-5 as the DH and is 4-for-18 (.222) in five games.