Michael Conforto
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Michael Conforto is taking regular batting practice

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In keeping with the “hurt guys getting better during the lockdown” theme we began with Shohei Ohtani this morning, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports that Mets outfielder Michael Conforto has been taking regular batting practice. Team officials “seem encouraged by his progress.”

Conforto suffered a Grade 1 strain of his right oblique after making a catch in the outfield in early March. At the time it was presumed that he would not be ready for the start of the season and that his absence would open the door for Jake Marisnick and Dominic Smith to claim more playing time. Now it seems that, whenever the Mets start playing, so too will Conforto.

Conforto hit .257/.363/.494 with 33 home runs, 92 RBI, 90 runs scored, and seven stolen bases in 648 plate appearances in 2019.

Cardinals-White Sox opener pushed back to Saturday

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CHICAGO — St. Louis’ series opener against the Chicago White Sox has been postponed to Saturday, giving the Cardinals an extra day to recover from a COVID-19 outbreak.

The Cardinals, who haven’t played since July 29, were set to resume their season Friday night in Chicago. But the series opener was pushed back to a straight doubleheader on Saturday afternoon, the beginning of an extended stay in the Windy City for the Cards.

There was no word from Major League Baseball on the postponement, but John Mozeliak, the president of baseball operations for the Cardinals, confirmed the move in a conference call with reporters. Mozeliak also said the team is going to play doubleheaders on Monday and Wednesday against the Cubs at Wrigley Field after the NL Central rivals had a series postponed last weekend.

Two people with direct knowledge of the situation also confirmed the postponement of the series opener against the White Sox. The people spoke Thursday on condition of anonymity because MLB had not announced the schedule change.

The Cardinals’ season has been derailed by the coronavirus. Star catcher Yadier Molina and infielder Paul DeJong are among the players who have tested positive.

St. Louis, the defending NL Central champions, has played just five games, winning two. It seems unlikely that it will be able to make up every one of its games that have been postponed during the pandemic-delayed season.

While announcing Sunday night that St. Louis’ series against Pittsburgh had been postponed, MLB said the league and the Cardinals believed it was “prudent to conduct additional testing while players and staff are quarantined before the team returns to play.”