Mets OF Michael Conforto has advanced from only hitting off a tee to hitting soft toss, reports Matt Ehalt of The Record, who says Conforto hit 15 balls off a tee before hitting 25 front tosses on Thursday.
Conforto noted last week 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.