The Mets’ search for a potential offensive assist brought him to DJ Stewart, who quickly showed promise.
Stewart, who started with the designated hitter in place of Daniel Fogelbach on Tuesday night, rewarded the Mets with his first home run for the club in an 11-10 win over the White Sox at Citi Field.
Head coach Buck Showalter said the club’s internal prospects against Chicago’s Lucas Giolito favored Stewart, a left-handed hitter who went 1-for-5 with two walks in six games with the club.
The predictions were correct.
Stewart hit a fourth-inning change off Giolito’s 435 feet — the longest of four home runs of the night — his first major league home run since Sept. 7, 2021, while with the Orioles.
“I’d like to see him hit some bats,” Showalter said before the game. “See if he can kind of carry on some of the good things he was doing at Syracuse.”
Stewart said he thinks he has found something with Triple-A Syracuse.
Early in the season, he lost time because he became a father to a now 4-month-old daughter, and then contracted COVID-19.
He returned in April, Stewart said, but his swing “was unexpected.”
He modified the swing and added a toe tap for timing.
“We did it as an exercise to keep me back, and I loved it so much, I started incorporating it into my swing,” said Stewart, who played 70 major league games in parts of five seasons with the Orioles. “Things are starting to look a little bit for me.”
The 29-year-old had strong performances in May (. 888 OPS) and June (seven home runs and 1,050 OPS in 19 games) at Triple-A before his promotion in early July, when Dani Mendyk was fired.
The Mets had major problems in DH, in which Vogelbach didn’t quite come through, and in right field, where Starling Marte didn’t come close to his 2022 production.
If Stewart – who made his debut in 2018, with Showalter as his manager in Baltimore – can continue to impress, there will be a place for him.
“It means a lot,” Stewart said of the opportunity before going 1-vs-4 with that boot. “Anytime you’re in the big leagues, it’s an incredible opportunity to showcase and help this team in any way you can.”
Marty was scratched with a migraine half an hour before the start of the match.
Mark Kanha replaced him in right field and went 1-for-3 with a hit-by-pitch.
Mart missed the game on Saturday due to illness.
Righty Sam Coonrod (right-bass), who pitched a scoreless inning in his first rehab game Sunday with Class-A St. Lucie, will play next Thursday.
Showalter spoke about Conrod, who was expected to walk the club out of spring training before suffering an injury.