Why Mets' Michael Conforto is benched Sunday night

National TV viewers won’t get a chance to see one of New York’s best young hitters.

PITTSBURGH — Fans tuning in to ESPN Sunday Night Baseball hoping to see one of New York’s best young hitters may be disappointed since Michael Conforto is out of the lineup on Sunday, when the Mets conclude the series against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. 

But before you get yourself in uproar and think Conforto is chained to the bench again and needs to be freed (looking at you, #MetsTwitter), it’s just a routine day off for the outfielder. He started all but one game since April 18 and came into that one as a pinch-hitter, so he’s probably due for one. Manager Terry Collins had said a few times over the weekend that Conforto has been playing through some fatigue. 

Will Pill pitch Tuesday?

Curtis Granderson takes over in left field and at the leadoff spot. Conforto is just 1-for-9 in the series against the Pirates with a run, and has struggled this week. Against San Diego on Thursday night, he struck out four times in his first four at-bats before singling in the ninth. 

“I wanted him to play tomorrow at home, so we had a choice of either tonight or tomorrow and (Neil Walker) is going to be off tomorrow,” Collins said. “We had already predetermined that and I didn’t want to take too many starters out for tomorrow’s game, so I thought tonight would be the night.” 

Left field is still Conforto’s job for the foreseeable future, since Yoenis Cespedes experienced right quad soreness while running the bases in his rehab from a strained left hamstring. Cespedes will remain in Port St. Lucie, Fla., to continue his rehab. He’s shut down until Tuesday and the Mets had no updates on his condition Sunday. 

Juan Lagares gets a rare start against a right-handed pitcher Sunday, playing centerfield and batting eighth against Pittsburgh’s Tyler Glasnow. Lagares made three strong catches as a late-game defensive replacement on Saturday night, in the Mets’ 10-inning loss, including a leaping catch at the wall to bail out right-hander Tyler Pill in his big league debut. 


Abbey Mastracco may be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @abbeymastracco. Find NJ.com on Facebook.