Danny Mendick returns to Mets infield

PORT ST. LUCIE — Danny Mendick played in a baseball game Wednesday.

It was not a major league game or even a Grapefruit League game: The Mets scrimmaged against Team Nicaragua.

But there was not a more excited player on the field than the Mets’ second baseman.

“Oh, my gosh. It’s been eight months I think,” Mendick said, accurately, a few hours before the game started at Clover Park. “I’m a baseball player. I just want to get out there and play.”

When he last took the field, back on June 22, 2022, Mendick crashed into White Sox teammate Adam Haseley while chasing a fly ball.

Mendick wound up on the ground with a torn ACL that ended his season and brought him to free agency, with the Mets pouncing on the do-everything utilityman.

For Mets fans who know little about Mendick, who essentially projects as a righty-hitting version of Luis Guillorme, his all-out sprint to catch that fly ball — which was grabbed by Haseley — is a nice snapshot of what kind of player he is.

Danny Mendick is back in action after a season-long ACL injury and is ready for everything that's to come.
Danny Mendick is back in action after a season-long ACL injury and is ready for everything that’s to come.
Corey Sipkin for the NY POST

“I play hard. I’m going for the ball,” said the 29-year-old, who played parts of four seasons with the White Sox after being a 22nd-round pick. “We just didn’t have enough communication and we collided. But if I had to go back and do it, I still go after that ball the same, 110 percent.”

Mendick is known for his grit and his glove, capable at each infield spot and even has been used in the corner outfield.

He lacks pop but has solid contact skills, batting .289 in 106 plate appearances last year.

Buck Showalter said the Mets “probably” would play Mendick everywhere, though the Mets manager said Mendick would be spared from shortstop early on as he fully builds up his body.

Outfielders Travis Jankowski #16, Brandon Nimmo #9 and Starling Marte #6  celebrate their 6-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.
Outfielders Travis Jankowski (No. 16), Brandon Nimmo (No. 9) and Starling Marte (No. 6) celebrate their 6-1 win over the Phillies.
Getty Images

Mendick, who grew up a huge Derek Jeter fan in Rochester, said he would be ready for whatever and wherever.

“I think the feeling around here is the World Series — that’s what we’re trying to accomplish,” Mendick said. “If I can be a part of that in any manner, that’s what I want to do.”

Showalter said Brandon Nimmo would make his Grapefruit League debut “hopefully [this] weekend.”

Nimmo has been ramping up slowly.

Starling Marte, recovering from offseason groin surgeries, still is expected to debut Friday.

Showalter is not concerned about the slow spring starts for the two outfielders.

“The track records they have, the preparation — we got a lot of games left,” Showalter said.

Showalter signaled the Mets likely will issue cuts from major league camp after Friday’s split-squad doubleheader.

Howard Johnson and Mookie Wilson have been in camp this week as guest instructors. Johnson will be inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame on June 3.

Owner Steve Cohen gave him the news over the phone.

“To have my family out there, it’s going to be special,” said Howard, a World Series-winning Met from 1985-93. “They all grew up with the Mets. They grew up at Shea. They knew the culture, they knew what was going on. I’m excited.”

For a second time this spring, the Mets closed their workouts to the media for 20 minutes for “proprietary reasons,” the club said. They were working on plays or drills they did not want the public to see.