New York Daily News

Conforto is back in swing

- JOHN HARPER Michael Conforto is back to spraying ball all over the field in Las Vegas, batting .423 with two home runs in last six games.

Michael Conforto’s demotion to Triple-A seems to be having the desired effect, getting his swing back in order, and it probably won’t be long before he’s back in left field for the Mets. Conforto is 11-for-26 (.423) in his last six games in Las Vegas, with two home runs and 11 RBIs during that span.

Perhaps most importantl­y, Triple-A manager Wally Backman says Conforto is once again using the whole field, taking outside pitches to the opposite field as he did so well as a rookie last year.

“He’s back on track,’’ Backman said by phone Monday. “He looks real good. He hit a 400-foot home run to left field the other night.’’

As Conforto slumped badly this season, following his hot April, major-league scouts were saying he had gotten into the habit of trying to pull everything to right field, perhaps because he was too home-run conscious.

So how long will the Mets leave him in Triple-A?

That could depend at least partly on Brandon Nimmo, who has cooled off considerab­ly after delivering a couple of huge hits, including a monster home run, to help win two games against the Cubs. Since then Nimmo is 4-for19 (.211) over the Mets’ last eight games. Overall he’s hitting .250 with only one extra-base hit, that home run against the Cubs, so he’s looking true to what scouts have said about him in the minors, that he’s a solid contact hitter who has good strikezone discipline but lacks the type of extra-base power that teams look for in corner outfielder­s.

“He’s got the frame to hit for power,’’ a major-league scout said on Monday, referring Nimmo’s 6-foot-3 size, “and the Mets drafted him thinking he would develop that power. “I saw him turn on that home run (against the Cubs), so you can see it might be there. But he hasn’t shown that he’ll do that with any consistenc­y. He showed more power this year in Vegas, but it’s really hard to judge hitters there because of the conditions, so I’d say the jury is still out on that.’’ One thing all scouts seem to agree on is that Conforto is much more of a sure thing, in terms of power and overall star potential with the bat. The Mets aren’t likely to keep both Nimmo and Conforto with them, at least for now, as they’ll want both to continue getting regular at-bats. So Nimmo is probably on the clock already when the second-half begins, with Conforto starting to push hard for a return to Citi Field. Furthermor­e, after their offense went into hiding again over the weekend against the Nationals, the Mets can’t afford a slow start after the All-Star break, as they begin with a nine-game road trip against the Phillies, Cubs and Marlins. Let’s face it, the Mets aren’t making a big trade for offense as they did last season. They’re short on top prospects and their priority right now is likely to add pitching, either a starter or a reliever. At some point they’ll be looking for the return of the Conforto they saw in April, along with the addition of Jose Reyes, as a boost for their offense. I’m betting they call him back up before that first post-break road trip ends. USA TODAY

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