The Reporter (Vacaville)
Conforto to reach milestone
He'll play in the field for the first time this spring in return from surgery
It'll be an eventful week for Michael Conforto, as he'll make his spring debut in the field on Thursday, a major milestone on his path back from shoulder surgery.
“I keep telling the guys who are like, `You're back,' that I'm not back until I'm out there playing baseball, playing the field,” Conforto said. “It'll feel like an accomplishment, for sure, to get back in the field.”
On Tuesday, Conforto hit a homer in his second consecutive game, this time drilling a shot to right off of Graham Ashcraft in the third. It's a sign to him that a mechanical adjustment to get his hands ready and get his front foot down has paid off.
“I'm starting to feel more like myself a little bit, seeing the ball a lot better,” Conforto said. “I felt like I was making my decision super early early on in the spring. We did a little dive on that and just found that my hands were coming down with me a little bit, so just keeping the hands up.”
So far this spring, Conforto's exclusively been a designated hitter, which he said he doesn't like because “it's hard to stay in the flow of the game.”
Conforto last played in the field on Oct. 3, 2021 when he was with the New York Mets. Conforto didn't sign with anyone last season after concerns with his shoulder led him to undergo surgery in late April.
Before the operation, he had one of the strongest outfield arms in the game, with Statcast measuring his hardest thrown ball from the outfield at 93.8 miles per hour in 2021 (outfield velocity data goes back to 2020). Conforto says his arm strength is back, but he still needs to build his stamina back.
“When I go out and throw to bases, I get pretty tired by the end of it and I never used to get