LOS ANGELES — As Francisco Lindor prepares for a return to the Mets lineup, he is taking ownership of a season that, from a personal performance standpoint, hasn’t nearly lived up to the lofty expectations.
Lindor worked out Saturday at Dodger Stadium, taking live batting practice against Noah Syndergaard before fielding grounders and running the bases. Team officials were evaluating whether to activate the shortstop, who hasn’t played since July 16 after straining his right oblique, from the injured list as soon as Sunday.
Lindor provided a self-evaluation of his season in response to a question about owner Steve Cohen’s tweet last week that expressed dismay over the team’s offensive production. Lindor, who signed a 10-year contract extension worth $341 million before this season, owns a .228/.326/.376 slash line with 11 homers and 36 RBIs in 87 games for the Mets.
“We have been getting that message the whole year,” Lindor said, referring to Cohen’s tweet. “We haven’t really hit all year long. I haven’t performed. I haven’t done it. The bottom line is I haven’t done what I’m here to do when it comes to the offensive side. Defense, they can’t talk to me. Baserunning, they can’t talk to me either. Offensively, criticize me and say whatever you want, because you are right. They are all right.
“I’m with them. I haven’t performed, so that message that Steve sent the other day, he’s been an owner, he’s been a fan, he is very passionate, he is just letting people know how he felt. He’s been very vocal in tweeting in the past year that I have been aware of who he is. Message to us? No. The message has been sent every single day.”
Lindor mentioned Pete Alonso and J.D. Davis as players who have produced for the Mets, but said the team overall has suffered from players who haven’t had above-average or even normal years.
“I’m below for sure — it’s a fact,” Lindor said. “It sucks. That is the only way I can put it. It sucks.”
The Mets could have Lindor, Javier Baez and Noah Syndergaard back for the stretch run and will likely have a better idea this week if Jacob deGrom can resume throwing. But will it be too late? The Mets entered Saturday trailing the Braves by six games in the NL East after leading the division for most of the season.
“I don’t worry, but there is a sense of urgency for sure and I think we all have that impression,” Lindor said. “We all want to go out there and give our best. It’s been a tough stretch for the New York Mets, however, good things will come and I am staying optimistic that good things will happen.
“We continue to play the game as hard as we can and hopefully at some point we have got to win some games for sure, hopefully not too late.”
Lindor said from a personal standpoint it’s not about proving anything to the fan base.
“I have to go out there and give it my best every single day, not just prove to the fan base that I can play baseball,” he said. “I want to win. I want to do whatever it takes. I owe it to my teammates. I owe it to the organization.”
Lindor wouldn’t say if he expects to return Sunday, but he said he is ready. The Mets could also wait until they begin a homestand Tuesday before activating Lindor.
“I want to be out there and grind with the boys,” Lindor said. “But we’ll see what happens.”