Mets' Luis Rojas says Michael Conforto could remain on bench, 'a little bit too mental' at plate

Mets' Luis Rojas says Michael Conforto could remain on bench, 'a little bit too mental' at plate
Baseball

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Conforto after K looking in Atlanta

Conforto after K looking in Atlanta

Prior to the start of this season, Michael Conforto played himself into a decent payday, and it’s hard to find anyone who would have doubted a contract extension for the outfielder.

When that didn’t come by Opening Day, he was a name well-coveted for the 2021 free agent class.

But now, Conforto is a liability offensively – he’s hitting .196 with a .649 OPS. That comes after his best season yet, albeit 60 games. In 2020, he had a .927 OPS with a .322 average, by far the best of his career.

Conforto isn’t in the lineup for the second time in three games on Monday, and Luis Rojas wouldn’t commit to penciling him in for Tuesday, either.

“We want him to work and find himself rather than being a little bit too mental at the plate…” Rojas told reporters on Monday. “We’re trying to get past his mental state when he’s at the plate. That’s it, right there, when he’s thinking too much, and he’s probably holding himself up from being aggressive.”

Conforto spoke to reporters and said he “has to play better, that’s the bottom line.”

Rojas said Conforto has been worried about his mechanics while in the batter’s box – but Rojas believes it’s all mental.

“When you’re thinking about your mechanics at the plate, it’s just really tough for you to focus on the pitch that you’re looking for and finding it and being aggressive,” Rojas said. “I think he’s working himself through that right now, and we’re looking at him to simplify things. We want to simplify things for him so he just goes to the plate, look for his pitch, and just takes his A swing. That’s part of his homework today pregame…

“When you’re thinking too much, you’re becoming too mental at the plate. You’re not supposed to think at the plate. You think outside the box. Outside the batter’s box, you’re thinking, you have your plan, you go in, and all your chips are in. That’s in. You step in there, you look for your pitch, and you just swing. I think he’s thinking too much at the plate, and that’s causing him to be in between. We want to brush that off.”

Rojas said Conforto is available off the bench, but could remain out of the lineup “if we need to get him right.”

“He should be available for the game in any situation we need him to deliver a big hit like he did a couple of weeks ago for us Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. We’ll put him in there. … You know that he can show up in one at-bat and hit a homer for us and put us in a winning situation.”

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