WASHINGTON — Michael Conforto’s season is over early.
After he tried to play through the problem this week, Conforto landed on the injured list with left hamstring tightness on Thursday, before the Mets’ series opener against the Nationals.
The Mets called up infielder Luis Guillorme, who was hitting .347 with an .860 OPS before getting demoted during a roster crunch last week, to fill his spot.
Conforto got hurt Sunday, sat out Monday and Tuesday and served as the designated hitter on Wednesday, participating in the team’s last-ditch attempt at making the playoffs. He struck out in his first three at-bats and grounded out in his fourth, worsening the hamstring issue on his sprint to first.
"He aggravated it a little bit," manager Luis Rojas said. "He’s at the position where he’s not going to be able to go out there."
Arguably the club’s MVP in his pandemic-shortened season, Conforto hit a career-high .322 with a .412 OBP — tops among Mets regulars — and .515 slugging percentage. He also had nine homers, 12 doubles, 31 RBIs and is tied for second on the team with three steals.
The usual small-sample-size caveats apply, but 2020 is up there with an All-Star 2017 — which ended early because of a shoulder injury — as the best seasons of Conforto’s career.
"He had a great regular season," Rojas said. "He was solid throughout, from the beginning until he was not able now. Just played really well. Offensively, his numbers are there. He was unbelievable."
Robinson Cano added: "He’s big on this team. This guy is really good."
Along the way, Conforto, the Mets’ union representative, seemed to grow into more of a leadership role, including coordinating with the Marlins on Aug. 20 when the teams decided not to play to protest social injustice.
"Just a great overall season for us on the field and off the field," Rojas said. "Michael is one of the leaders in the clubhouse. I think he’s growing more and more as one of the leaders in the clubhouse. His love for this organization, his love for that group in there — I think he grew even more this year with everything that he did."
Count Cano among those excited by the Mets’ looming ownership change from the Wilpons to Steve Cohen (pending MLB approval).
"I would say it means a lot," Cano said. "I never got a chance to meet [Cohen], I don’t know the owner. But from what I hear from people, it’s going to be good for us."
Was Cano disappointed that Alex Rodriguez — his friend and former Yankees teammate — was unsuccessful in his bid for the team?
"I’m not lying, I wasn’t even paying attention to that," Cano said. "Those are the kind of stuff I don’t really pay attention, because for me I don’t want to get my focus away from baseball."
Dom the doubler
Dominic Smith (3-for-5) had two doubles Thursday night against the Nationals, giving him 21 on the year — the most ever by a Mets player in the first 60 games of a season, passing the 20 from Carlos Beltran (2009) and Edgardo Alfonzo (2000). Smith, of course, has three games to go and had just seven at-bats in the first week of the season.
Several Mets hitters have bemoaned the lack of in-game access to video this year. Cano had a different take. "I came up when there was no [in-game] video," he said. "It’s good so guys can feel how it was in the past and it’s good to keep their minds more in the game." . . . The Mets will keep their rotation in order for the final three games: Rick Porcello, Jacob deGrom, Seth Lugo.