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New York Mets
New York Mets

PORT ST. LUCIE — The results were good, the timing and feel were better and the outlook was best of all for outfielder Michael Conforto, who came away hopeful of rejoining the Mets earlier than expected after playing in a simulated game Wednesday as part of his return from left shoulder surgery.

“I’m hoping,” Conforto said about beating the speculated May 1 return date. “That seems like far off to me, but we’ll see what happens. Like I keep saying, it’s day to day.”

But Wednesday was a good day for Conforto. Facing an assortment of minor leaguers — mostly lefties — he squeezed in 10 at-bats and had three hits, including two home runs, one that went into a stiff wind but still may have reached the Gulf of Mexico — if not Mexico itself.

“It definitely felt better. Felt like I was more on time. The swing felt a little more on plane and in rhythm,” said Conforto, who was injured last August and underwent surgery Sept. 6. “It’s good to feel the barrel a little bit. … Saw some good arms. Some decent stuff, some funky angles, so that was good. Lots of lefties, too.”

The abundance of lefties he saw was mere “coincidence,” according to manager Mickey Callaway.

“I think he got eight of his 10 at-bats against lefties,” Callaway said. “He’s going to have to face lefties early in the season, so it was a good day.”

Conforto, against last year’s first-round draft pick David Peterson, showed what he can bring with that monster homer.

“He’s in a really good spot. You saw the way the ball’s coming off his bat when he squares it up. I don’t know how far that one was, but that went a very long way,” Callaway said. “The bat speed’s there. He feels healthy, and it’s just a matter of time before we can get him in the game. He looks really good.”

There is still a question of stamina in the eyes of both player and manager. But his swing looks and feels good.

“I’m getting there. I’m pretty close. I’ve had a lot of good work,” said Conforto, who likely will play in Monday’s intrasquad game, but will not play in any of three remaining Grapefruit League games, according to Callaway. “I’m starting to feel my legs a little bit and I feel like I’m in rhythm with everything, so I’m getting close.”

Closer than May 1, he hopes. But there is still building up to do.

“It’s not so much about the shoulder anymore. It’s getting up, hitting, going out to the field, standing out there, go make some plays then come back and hit again,” Conforto said.

“He hadn’t even played the field past five, six innings,” Callaway said. “We’ve just got to get him out in the field, get him playing and build him up to nine innings.”

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