March 11, 2021 | 4: 21pm | Updated March 11, 2021 | 4: 27pm
PORT ST. LUCIE – As a lot because the Mets need Dominic Smith to organize for left-field obligation this season, making certain he’s bodily prepared for the grind of a season comes first.
For now meaning giving Smith at-bats because the DH or first baseman within the Grapefruit League till a dedication is reached he’s prepared for added work.
“It’s a marathon and the team is doing a great job of making sure that I am ready,” mentioned Smith, who began because the DH on Thursday when the Mets confronted the Astros in an exhibition recreation in West Palm Beach.
The expectation is that by subsequent week Smith will start enjoying left discipline. Unless the common DH is applied earlier than Opening Day, the Mets are relying on Smith to take most of his at-bats this season because the left fielder, with Pete Alonso at first base. If the DH returns, the Mets would have the choice of shifting Alonso to that spot with Smith at first base.
Smith has performed the outfield on a restricted foundation in every of the final three seasons and appeared overmatched at occasions. Over the winter group president Sandy Alderson indicated that Smith wasn’t considered as an outfielder, however that evaluation modified after MLB and the MLBPA failed to achieve settlement on implementing the common DH.
The Mets know this a lot: they need Smith’s bat within the lineup as a lot as doable after his breakout 2020 season by which he slashed .316/.377/.616 with 10 homers and 42 RBIs in 50 video games.
Smith sustained a stress fracture in his left foot that value him virtually half of the 2019 season and he desires to make sure there’s no recurrence.
“Some of those things can kind of be avoidable if we monitor my load and make sure that I am not overworking, because I like to work,” Smith mentioned. “I work hard and if it’s up to me I will be out on the field all day long, so they kind of have to monitor myself and kind of hold me back so I am not overworking and fatiguing and hurting myself in the long run.”
Smith was late in starting exercises for the group for an undisclosed purpose, and early in camp wore a vest that monitored his respiration and coronary heart price to make sure he wasn’t pushing too exhausting. He says he’s utterly wholesome.
“I came into camp a couple of days late so I have some catch up to do,” he mentioned. “I’ve to verify my legs are below me and ensure I don’t run into any pace bumps alongside the way in which. I will likely be on the market a ton and I’ll have enjoyable after I do get on the market.
“I’m running around fine, I am doing everything, I’m in all the drills. I’m running, you can see me on the back fields and I do everything perfectly fine. This is just precaution to make sure I don’t run myself into the ground, because if it were up to me I would be playing every day from the day I got here and playing all nine innings.”
Prepping Smith for left discipline will fall on new outfield coach Tony Tarasco, who has taken an upbeat method with the gamers to instill them with enthusiasm about drills that may fall on the mundane facet.
“He makes you work out there when you do drills and they are really thoughtful and get you thinking and get you really just better prepared,” Smith mentioned. “The way he has us play out certain situations in our head before we go out there is huge. Some of the drills that he has us work on and do, I think it’s going to be very beneficial for my development out there and I am excited to get in a game and see what I can do.”