PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Unprompted, Mets manager Mickey Callaway criticized his team’s fundamentals Sunday afternoon, hours after he addressed it with the players.
“We got to do things a little bit better than we’ve been doing them,” Callaway said. “You have to throw the ball where it’s supposed to go. You have to run out balls. That’s going to start happening.”
Callaway, who did not cite examples or call out anybody by name, indicated that part of the process is the new-look coaching staff continuing to learn the roster and the personalities.
The mini-rant began with a question about the Mets paring down their roster. They have not made cuts from their spring training group of 56.
“We’re still trying to get a feel for these guys and the baseball that they know,” Callaway said. “It hasn’t been ideal, I’ll say that. I think we need to do a better job at it, for sure.
“There’s fundamentals that you have to do to play the game right. We can’t throw to the wrong bag and throw balls away. We have to play the game the right way if we’re going to win. We have to do it better than everybody else.”
Michael Conforto had a scheduled day off Sunday as he rehabs his left shoulder. Paired with the team’s day off Monday, that gives him two days off in a row after three straight days of batting practice. Conforto said he hopes to face live pitching this week. He said he will “take the reins off” and take on a bigger workload starting Tuesday.
“I think I’m progressing a little bit quicker than they expected,” Conforto said.
General manager Sandy Alderson had mentioned May 1 as an approximate return date, but there is a lot of optimism, particularly from Conforto, about how well the process is going.
“On a really good course right now,” Callaway said. “We just want to be smart and not really have a date. That was kind of said, but we’re just going to be smart. He’s just going out there every day and doing his job at this point in time. He’s in a really good spot, I can say that for sure.”
Cespedes goes deep
Yoenis Cespedes homered Sunday out of the No. 2 spot, his potential regular lineup home in the regular season. “We’re still thinking about that,” Callaway said. It was Cespedes’ third homer of spring training.
Righthander Anthony Swarzak (left calf strain) faced Amed Rosario, Juan Lagares and Dominic Smith in a simulated game Sunday and said he felt good. Callaway had mentioned a simulated game as a possibility for Swarzak because it would allow him to face batters and help him maintain his arm strength without having to test the calf by running. Callaway said Swarzak will get in a game “soon.”
For first baseman Dominic Smith, all that’s left in his return from a strained right quadriceps is “just get him in a game at the right time,” Callaway said. He indicated that will happen soon but did not get specific.