Mets OF Michael Conforto "fully expects" to play in a Grapefruit League game at some point next week, reports Mike Puma of the NY Post.
Conforto took batting practice last Tuesday for the first time since having shoulder surgery. He had advanced the week prior from only hitting off a tee to hitting soft toss.
"I don't know about 100 percent, but I'm swinging pretty hard," Conforto said last week. "I don't think about the shoulder … I haven't really felt any hesitation at all."
Conforto said it's "tough" to not get ahead of himself in his recovery, but that his focus remains on the process of getting ready.
"I just try to focus on the presentm" he said. "Just like you would during the season. I guess it's a good exercise to just focus on the here-and-now, and what I can do today to get myself a little bit closer."
Conforto noted late last month that he is "actually ahead of schedule" following his shoulder surgery. He said he was cleared by doctors at the end of January to start a swinging progression, and that his return could be earlier or later than the May 1 date that was projected by GM Sandy Alderson during the offseason.
"There's the May 1st date, and that kind of gives me an idea," he said. "As a competitor, it's tough for me not to look at that date and want to get out there before that."
Conforto dislocated his shoulder toward the end of last season, which required surgery to repair the posterior capsule. The initial diagnosis was that it would require at least a six-month recovery.
In Conforto's absence, the Mets are expected to have Yoenis Cespedes, Brandon Nimmo or Juan Lagares, and Jay Bruce in the outfield from left to right.
When Conforto returns, the expectation is that he will play center field.