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Michael Conforto feeling ‘100 percent,’ expected to return to lineup this weekend

2019-05-25

Amid all the outfield injury setbacks this month, Mets fans can breathe a sigh of relief knowing one significant hitter is expected to return as soon as this weekend.

Michael Conforto spoke publicly Friday for the first time since sustaining a concussion after colliding with Robinson Cano in Washington last week. After undergoing his first full day of baseball activities, the outfielder said he feels ready return to the lineup.

"I feel normal,” Conforto said. “I feel 100 percent. We're just kind of taking it day by day.”

The 26-year-old has been symptom-free for six days. He dealt with a headache on the first night after the collision and he woke up the next morning feeling fine. Conforto has since successfully followed Major League Baseball’s concussion protocol without any setbacks.

Conforto could be back as soon as this weekend after missing a week with a concussion. (Frank Franklin II/AP)

“I think I was lucky,” Conforto said. “I was lucky to not have terrible symptoms and be able to check off all the boxes along the way.”

Both Conforto and Cano were running to shallow right field to catch a pop up off the bat of Howie Kendricks last Thursday. Conforto’s head slammed into Cano’s shoulder, and the outfielder immediately hit the ground. Conforto laid face-down for a few moments before Cano helped him to his feet.

Conforto said he does not remember parts of his collision with Cano while playing the Nationals last week. It was the first time Conforto went momentarily unconscious while playing professional baseball.

"I remember everything leading up to it,” Conforto said. “And I didn’t realize at first I had been knocked out. I thought I just hit him, I hit the ground and I was dizzy getting up. But, afterwards I've watched the video and there were probably about 10 seconds that I didn't have.”

“I kind of wanted to go back in time and tell myself to pull up or call it a little louder. Maybe things would've turned out differently.”

Conforto has been cleared to fly with the team since he has not shown any concussion symptoms since that first night with a headache. Conforto is expected to return off the seven-day injured list this weekend, but if for some reason he is not activated, flying to Los Angeles for the Mets’ upcoming series against the Dodgers should not be a problem.

GREEN LIGHT

All signs point to Jason Vargas (left hamstring strain) returning from the 10-day injured list Saturday for a start against the Tigers at Citi Field.

Vargas first hit the IL on May 6 with the hamstring tightness. He missed three turns in the rotation for the Mets. Right-hander Wilmer Font, who pitched in Vargas’ place, will likely be sent down to Triple-A Syracuse to make room on the 25-man roster.

Vargas will return having made a rehab start with Double-A Binghamton and throwing a bullpen session in the big leagues. The 26-year-old has a 5.92 ERA over seven starts and 24.1 innings pitched this season.

T EVEN CLOSE

Jed Lowrie (Grade 1 left hamstring strain) sounds like he’s not even close to returning to the big leagues anytime soon.

Lowrie suffered the strain while he was on the brink of being activated from the injured list from a left knee capsule sprain. The infielder was rehabbing with Triple-A Syracuse for six games and was expected to be called up to the big leagues earlier this month.

Following the setback, Lowrie is again starting from scratch at the Mets minor-league facility in Port St. Lucie. He was transferred to the 60-day injured list earlier this week. Mets manager Mickey Callaway did not exactly have an encouraging update on the infielder on Friday.

"Lowrie’s down there, rehabbing, progressing and doing some baseball stuff,” Callaway said. “It’s still so far away. It’s not like he’s in games or games are imminent right now. So he’s just doing baseball activity, hitting in the cage, fielding, things like that.”