Mets bench struggling Michael Conforto and give him homework

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Rather than insert Michael Conforto in their starting lineup Monday night, the Mets sent their veteran outfielder to study hall.

Mets manager Luis Rojas said, before the team opened a series with the Marlins at the ridiculously spelled loanDepot park, that the team benched the profoundly slumping Conforto so that he could work on his approach at the plate and stop “thinking too much” during his at-bats.

“The plan is for him to work,” Rojas said. “We want him to work and find himself rather than being a little bit too mental at the plate. He’s not mental when he’s not playing. So he’s not beating himself up or anything. He’s taking advantage of the time and he’s just working hard. We’re trying to get, probably 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 off from being aggressive. Those are some of the conversations that we had today. 

“We’re looking at him to simplify things. We want to simplify things for him so he just goes to the plate looking for his pitch and just takes his A swing. That’s part of his homework today pre-game and he should be available today for any situation [where] we need him to deliver a big hit like he did a couple of weeks ago for us in Pittsburgh and in Cincinnati.”

While the 28-year-old indeed delivered some big hits during the team’s road trip to start the second half, he slashed a brutal .133/235/.167 during the Mets’ just-completed 11-game homestand, lowering his overall line for the season to a highly disappointing .196/.324/.324. 

“He’s not producing like he has produced in his career,” Rojas said. “We’re figuring it out. … The approach today is to work on finding himself. Michael could be back in tomorrow’s lineup. The homework for him is to simplify things and just go out there and look for a pitch and crush it. “

Conforto can be a free agent after this season.

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