BY DAVID RUSSELL
The Mets are going into the season with a legitimate chance of winning their first World Series since 1986. While their games in spring training are typically meaningless, there have been several storylines out of Florida.
Heisman Trophy winner and former Jets player Tim Tebow hit nine home runs in batting practice on the first day of spring training.
The left-handed outfielder will likely be sent to the Brooklyn Cyclones this summer.
The impressive collection of starting pitching— including Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey and Steven Matz— will look to stay healthy after manager Terry Collins had to navigate around a large amount of injuries in guiding the Mets to the 2016 postseason.
Outfielder Michael Conforto is doing what he can to impress Collins. He had five hits in his first seven at-bats, including a pair of home runs. Conforto burst on the scene with nine homers in the final two months of 2015 and then hit a pair of homers in game four of the World Series. But mighty struggles last season had him yo-yoing between the majors and minors.
Another issue in getting playing time for Conforto is that the Mets have a crowded outfield with Yoenis Cespedes, Curtis Granderson, Juan Lagares and Jay Bruce. While Cespedes and Granderson will likely get a large number of at-bats, Conforto could be stuck behind Bruce, a veteran acquired last season who also makes more money.
As has been the case for several seasons, David Wright’s injuries are keeping him off the field. The Mets captain played less than 40 games during each of the last two seasons and now will not be able to throw a ball for two weeks due to a right shoulder impingement.
Still, the organization isn’t taking the bad news as some sign that the 34-year-old third baseman won’t be able to come back down the line.
“I don’t think we’re at that point, the point where that concern is at a more heightened level,” general manager Sandy Alderson said during a conference broadcast on SNY. “This is all part of the process of rehabilitating from the neck surgery and it’s taking longer than I’m sure David would have hoped, and we would’ve hoped, but it’s part of the process.”