SAN FRANCISCO — Opposing the Mets this weekend is one of the most familiar faces of all: Michael Conforto.
Conforto, a former homegrown All-Star, played against his parent team for the first time on Thursday, the start of a four-game series at Oracle Park. He was the Giants’ DH, unable to play the outfield due to a left calf problem.
Before and after agreeing to a two-year, $36 million contract with San Francisco in December, Conforto kept tabs on his former club and current friends, he admitted.
“I’m watching from afar, during the offseason, some of the guys getting paid, just checking in on spring training and everything,” Conforto, dressed in Giants gear, said Thursday afternoon while sitting in the home dugout. “Those guys were my family for six, seven years. He doesn’t go away, that’s for sure. I like to keep checking in on them, making sure I know what’s going on. Excited about it. It’s going to be a fun experience.”
Drafted by the Mets in the first round in 2014, Conforto reached the majors in 2015 and played with them through 2021. He then became a free agent but missed 2022 due to a shoulder injury.
Conforto said he had a “very brief check-in” with the Mets regarding a possible reunion in the offseason. But he didn’t go anywhere.
“Not that I won’t be back,” he said. “There were better opportunities for me elsewhere, and this was a great opportunity. I think I’m happy where I ended up. I really like the people in that clubhouse. I’ve just been welcomed back with open arms. ”
Among Conforto’s teammates: fellow former Mets Darin Roof (with whom he never overlapped in New York), JD Davis and Wilmer Flores.
Joey Lucchesi — the lefthander who throws a “churve,” a changeup/curve hybrid — will start for the Mets on Friday against the Giants, filling in for the injured Carlos Carrasco.
This will be Lucchesi’s first game in a major since June 2021. He missed the rest of that season and into 2022 recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Starting this season with Triple-A Syracuse, the 29-year-old Lucchesi has a 2.30 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in three outings. This includes his most recent outing, 6 2/3 shutout innings on April 13. He struck out 16 and struck out seven in 15 2/3 innings.
“He’s finally back physically,” said manager Buck Showalter. “He’s having a really good out there. His command has been good. We’ll see if he plays against a good team in the big leagues tomorrow.
Starling Marte (neck stiffness) was “a little better,” Showalter said, but out of the lineup on Thursday. It may start on Friday. , , Showalter fanned third baseman Brett Batty (making him 0-for-2 in starts against left-handed pitchers) and Francisco Álvarez (so that Tomas Nido could catch Kodai Senga). Both are set to return to the lineup on Friday.