The Mets are hoping Starling Marte will have a bounce-back season in 2024 after suffering through an injury-filled campaign in 2023.
If Saturday night’s Dominican Republic Professional Baseball League (LIDOM) game is any indication, he is off to a good start.
The 35-year-old Marte, an All-Star in 2022, showed his groin injury last season is a thing of the past.
First, the Mets veteran outfielder, who plays for Leones del Escogido, singled in the fifth inning and then reached third on the next at-bat after the pitcher made a throwing error while trying to start a double play at second base.
After that bit of fortuitous luck, he scored on a wild pitch in the next at-bat to help lead Escogido to a 7-6 win over Gigantes del Cibao.
In the sixth inning, the Dominican Republic native bunted down the third base line and was safe at first.
Marte’s season with the Mets came to an abrupt end in September, after the lingering effects of an offseason double groin surgery, which bothered him all season, put him on the injured list.
He also missed some time because of migraines.
He had a poor defensive season, with decreased hitting numbers and noticeably less speed.
Marte, who played in just 86 games last season, hit .248 with five homers and 28 RBIs.
Though Marte did steal 24 bases on 28 attempts in 2023, it was still a far cry from his All-Star season with the Mets when he hit .292 with 16 homers and 63 RBI.
After returning to the doctor who had preformed his surgery the previous November for injections, and heavily rehabbing the injury, Marte had expected to make a late-season return to the field.
But rehab complications kept him out for the remainder of the season.
Former Mets manager Buck Showalter shared in September that Marte’s health was on the mend, and the team expected him to return soon.
“He’s shown really good groin and core strength, sprint speed, hitting metrics that are back to his baseline,” Showalter said on Sept. 27. “I feel confident we’re going to have a healthy player going forward.”