KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Mets prospect Dominic Smith entered his home run trot Saturday, convinced that his first-inning shot off righthander Collin McHugh was destined for the palm trees over the rightfield fence.
He was wrong.
So began a teaching moment at the start of the Mets’ 3-1 Grapefruit League victory over the Astros.
Topspin on the ball knocked down Smith’s drive, which caromed off the fence for what should have been a sure double. But Smith had to stop at first base, which prompted a word from Mets manager Terry Collins.
“I definitely hit it well,” said Smith, 20, who finished 2-for-4 with a walk. “But there’s no place for me not to hustle out of the box like that. It’s a learning experience.” He vowed that it will never happen again.
The Mets are high on Smith, a smooth-swinging first baseman who was drafted 11th in the first round in 2013. In 2015, he had a slash line of .305/.354/.417 in 118 games for Class A St. Lucie and earned Florida State League player of the year honors.
Two weeks for Wright?
David Wright might not appear in Grapefruit Leagues for another two weeks, according to a source. He still is working to catch up on his preseason preparations. After his spinal stenosis diagnosis last season, doctors ordered Wright to delay his offseason work. Wright has yet to run the bases.
Shift no sweat
The Astros shifted three infielders to the right of second base on Michael Conforto, offering a preview of what the leftfielder might see in his first full major-league season.
Conforto recalled facing a four-outfielder configuration during his college days, with the third baseman playing left-centerfield and the shortstop behind second.
“I’ve seen it before,” he said. “I embrace that. The left side of the infield is open. I feel very confident going that way.”
Strikes for Smoker
Lefthander Josh Smoker, who has an outside chance of earning a spot in the Mets’ bullpen, struck out two in his scoreless inning against the Astros.
A 2007 first-round draft pick of the Nationals, Smoker, 27, is trying to resurrect a career derailed by shoulder surgery.
The Mets signed him last season and watched his fastball return to the mid-90s in the minors. He also has allayed concerns about his command.
“That’s what I liked about him, he’s throwing strikes,” Collins said. “The report was he’s got a great arm but he’s had trouble in the strike zone. But he threw the ball good today, very good.”
According to scouts, Smoker’s fastball sat in the range of 93 to 94 mph. He also featured a slurve and a splitter.
Said Smoker: “The fact that I was putting the ball where I wanted to, I was happy with it.”
Outfielder Roger Bernadina arrived in camp Saturday after a visa issue . . . Dilson Herrera had an RBI triple a day after hitting an inside- the-park homer.
Sign up for Newsday’s Mets Messages for updates directly to your phone via text, free with a Newsday digital subscription. Learn more at newsday.com/metstext.