With MLB and the Players Association deep in negotiations for the potential return of the 2020 season -- which could mean a second spring training starting around June 10 -- players are ramping up their preparation.
For J.D. Davis and Dominic Smith, that means things have gotten more intense.
"Right now what I'm doing (is) I'm getting more balls off the machine. Getting ready, swinging a little bit harder, making sure I do some more sprints, some more long distance stuff," Davis said Wednesday during The Cookie Club presented by Insomnia Cookies. "Definitely ramping it up here, definitely getting the itch. The month before it was kind of that mystery of when we're gonna start, but now it's becoming a little more clear that it's gonna start here in the next couple of weeks. I have no idea, I don't make those decisions, but I'm excited for that phone call."
Davis dealt with a minor shoulder injury before spring training was suspended that temporarily cast a bit of doubt on his potential availability for the originally scheduled Opening Day. But he is expected to be a full-go out of the gate when spring training resumes.
Smith, who has been seeing some live pitching by standing in (but not swinging yet) against teammate Marcus Stroman, said he's "starting to ramp up a little bit."
"Taking more fly balls at a higher intensity, running more sprints at a higher intensity," he said. "And I've actually had the luxury to see some live arms, so I've been able to get pretty ready for the season. I got the itch and I've been having the itch for a while now, and I can't wait till we're all back together doing the one thing we all love."
Before the season was suspended, it was expected that Davis was going to start in left field most days, with Smith often on the bench due to a full outfield and the presence of Pete Alonso at first base.
However, with the coronavirus pandemic first leading to the suspension of spring training and then to what will be a drastically different-looking 2020 regular season that is expected to include a universal DH, Davis and Smith could be impacted.
For Davis, it could mean a significant amount of time at DH, though the presence of Yoenis Cespedes could potentially help determine how often any other Met is used there.
For Smith, it could simply mean more playing time, with the extra spot in the batting order giving the Mets more options.
"Whatever situation I get put in, I want to be prepared. If we do get the universal DH, I want to make sure that I come in prepared," Smith told SNY on May 20. "I want to make Luis make tough decisions. I want to force him to make some tough decisions, because if he's forced to make tough decisions it means our club is doing some things real well. It's a pretty good lineup. We get an extra hitter in there, I think it should be super fun to see what this offense could do."