PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — The Mets aren’t ruling out having outfielder Juan Lagares ready for Opening Day, which could mean that Michael Conforto gets squeezed off the roster.
Manager Terry Collins said on Tuesday that the Mets received an encouraging update on Lagares’ strained left oblique after doctors reviewed a recent MRI exam.
“The MRI came back better than we hoped,” Collins said, following a 3-3 tie with the Cardinals. “Day to day. He felt a lot better today. We’ll see where he’s at tomorrow. I’d sure like to be able to get him into that intersquad game if we can, if it’s possible.”
The Mets face Triple-A Las Vegas on Thursday, their final game in Port St. Lucie before heading to New York for Friday’s exhibition game against Army at Citi Field.
While Collins said he’d like to see Lagares in game action, he left open the possibility of adding the centerfielder to the bench even if he doesn’t play before Opening Day.
“You’d like to, but he has certainly a number of at-bats,” Collins said. “He’s only missed a couple of games so I don’t think it’s anything real serious. I think if [he says] ‘hey look, I’m OK I can play,’ we certainly can think about taking him.”
Lagares is hitting .190 in 42 at-bats this spring, but he’s a natural centerfielder. Though Conforto played center on Tuesday, he has primarily been a corner outfielder.
Closer Jeurys Familia returned to camp on Tuesday, one day after meeting in New York with baseball commissioner Rob Manfred. Familia is expected to be suspended this week for violating baseball’s policy against domestic violence . . . Righty Paul Sewald was cut on Tuesday, ending the non-roster invite’s bid for a bullpen spot. Sewald had a 2.51 ERA in 11 spring appearances. But the Mets have a full 40-man roster . . . The Mets optioned catcher Kevin Plawecki to minor-league camp, a move that was expected with veteran Rene Rivera penciled in as the backup to Travis d’Arnaud.