SAN DIEGO — Dominic Smith’s thunder is returning.
After a May in which the Mets left fielder reached base at an acceptable rate, but wasn’t hitting for power, Smith is again going deep. On Sunday he blasted his second homer in less than a week as part of the Mets’ 6-2 victory over the Padres at Petco Park.
Smith, who homered in the fourth inning against Chris Paddack, owns an .800 slugging percentage over his last seven games. Smith also homered in Arizona on Tuesday.
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“He is staying more within his lower half, and that is going to give you a chance,” manager Luis Rojas said. “His two homers [on the road trip] have both been bombs, so that tells you he is staying within his lower body.”
Smith said he’s received better luck lately.
“Early in the season I was hitting the ball hard, but right at people,” Smith said. “But now these balls I am hitting hard are starting to fall.”
J.D. Davis is wearing a splint on his left hand and won’t be evaluated to potentially begin swinging until the middle of the week. Brandon Nimmo is taking dry swings to try to get the feel of the bat rolling in his hand, according to Rojas, as he rehabs from a nerve issue in his right index finger. Both players have been on the injured list since the first week of May.
“We want these guys to be at their best when they are going to come to us,” Rojas said. “Whatever time it takes to get them there we will respect that and I just want them to be locked in with that and not to be frustrated.”
Jonathan Villar will be evaluated for possible starting duty on Tuesday in Baltimore, but Rojas kept him on the bench for a fourth straight game Sunday with right hamstring tightness. Villar pinch hit the previous night and remained in the game to play third base.
“We have just got to be cautious with the timing,” Rojas said. “We don’t want this to be another [Jeff] McNeil … We don’t want to lose him for a while.”
McNeil was dealing with left hamstring discomfort last month and may have pushed too hard too soon, landing him on the injured list with a strain.
Rojas plans to start David Peterson and Taijuan Walker in succession against the Orioles following Monday’s day off. The Mets have another day off Thursday, so Jacob deGrom will likely leapfrog the fifth spot in the rotation and pitch Friday against the Padres at Citi Field. Rojas said Joey Lucchesi in all likelihood will start Saturday.