San Francisco's Michael Conforto after his two-run go-ahead home run in the...

San Francisco's Michael Conforto after his two-run go-ahead home run in the eighth inning against the Kansas City Royals on Sunday, April 9, 2023.  Credit: AP/Scott Strazzante

SAN FRANCISCO — Of all the familiar faces opposing the Mets late this week, one is the most so: Michael Conforto.

Conforto, a former homegrown All-Star, played against his original team for the first time Thursday, the start of a four-game series at Oracle Park. He was the Giants’ DH, unable to play the outfield because of a left calf issue.

Before and after agreeing a two-year, $36 million contract with San Francisco in December, Conforto has kept tabs on his former club and current friends, he acknowledged.

“I’ve been watching from afar, keeping up over the offseason, some of the guys getting paid, just checking in on spring training and everything,” Conforto, dressed in Giants gear, said while sitting in the home dugout Thursday afternoon. “Those guys were my family for six, seven years. That doesn’t go away, that’s for sure. I like to keep checking on them, making sure I’m aware of what’s going on. I’m excited to play against them. It’s going to be a fun experience.”

Drafted by the Mets in the first round in 2014, Conforto reached the majors in 2015 and played with them through 2021. Then he became a free agent but missed 2022 because of a shoulder injury.

Conforto said he had a “very brief checking-in” with the Mets regarding a potential reunion during the offseason. But that didn’t go anywhere.

“It’s not that I wouldn’t come back,” he said. “There was just better opportunities elsewhere for me, and this was a great opportunity. I think I’m happy where I ended up. I really like the guys in that clubhouse. I’ve just been welcomed with open arms.”


Among Conforto’s teammates: fellow ex-Mets Darin Ruf (with whom he never overlapped in New York), J.D. Davis and Wilmer Flores.

Pitching plans

Joey Lucchesi — the lefthander who throws a “churve,” a changeup/curve hybrid — will start for the Mets against the Giants on Friday, filling in for the injured Carlos Carrasco.

That will be Lucchesi’s first game in the majors since June 2021. He missed the rest of that season and all of 2022 recovering from Tommy John surgery.

In opening this season with Triple-A Syracuse, the 29-year-old Lucchesi has a 2.30 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in three outings. That includes 6 2/3 shutout innings in his most recent outing, April 13. He’s struck out 16 and walked seven in 15 2/3 innings.

“He’s finally back physically,” manager Buck Showalter said. “He’s coming off a really good outing down there. His command has been good. We’ll see if that plays against a good team tomorrow in the big leagues.”

Extra bases

Starling Marte (neck stiffness) was “a little better,” Showalter said, but out of the lineup Thursday. He might start Friday . . . Showalter benched third baseman Brett Baty (making him 0-for-2 in starts against lefthanded pitchers) and Francisco Alvarez (so Tomas Nido could catch Kodai Senga). Both are slated to return to the lineup Friday.

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