PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — The day after Dominic Smith blamed his alarm clock for a late arrival that drew the ire of his new manager, he didn’t need it to arrive on time for his scheduled start against the Cardinals.
“I was waking up every 25 minutes,” Smith said. “When you make mistakes, you’re very cautious not to make them again.”
For Smith, who said he showed up around 6 a.m. Saturday, the uneasy sleep didn’t seem to affect his performance. He went 1-for-1 with a single, two runs scored, and he made a nice stretch-and-scoop of third baseman Phil Evans’ low throw after a grounder (although replay showed Smith’s foot to be off the base).
“I felt great,” said Smith, who dropped 30 pounds this winter. “The game was a lot easier at this weight, for sure.”
Manager Mickey Callaway scratched him hours before Friday’s Grapefruit League opener when the first baseman was late for the Mets’ pregame meeting, which began at 8:45 a.m. For Smith, who is trying to prove he deserves the first baseman’s job, it was an embarrassing slip-up that Callaway called “a little shocking” and “unfortunate.” During the first two weeks of spring training, Smith had been working with the minor-leaguers while Adrian Gonzalez manned first base with the starting infield, so Friday’s start in the opener initially seemed like a good showcase for him.
Instead, Smith gave Callaway the chance to assert his clubhouse authority, and the opportunity backfired on him. Still, the Mets’ clubhouse appreciated Callaway giving Smith a lesson in accountability and a few of the veteran players — Gonzalez and David Wright among them — later spoke to the 22-year-old about what happened.
“They want me to eventually be one of the leaders on the team,” Smith said.
Callaway showed that he didn’t hold a grudge by immediately putting Smith back into the lineup Saturday. Apparently the manager felt he got his point across.
“Dom knew that he messed up,” Callaway said.