CINCINNATI – Dominic Smith watched old videos alongside Mets hitting coaches Eric Chavez and Jeremy Barnes and found a critical ingredient to his offensive success that had been missing to start the year.

Over the past couple of weeks, Smith made an adjustment to his hitting mechanics that has allowed him to drive the ball with more power. He opened up his stance at the plate so that his legs are farther apart from each other, his hips are squared lower, and his right foot is slightly pointed out.

“That’s something that when I went really well, that’s what I did,” Smith said. “I felt like I was getting beat inside and I was flying open early and I kind of closed myself off. So I just got back to being comfortable, opened up and now I’m able to be in my hips more and stay in that back side. It’s working out well and I’m able to swing at what I want to.”

Smith’s open stance has helped him hit the ball with more authority, and it’s translated to seven hits in 21 at-bats (.333 batting average) since he was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse late last month. Four of those seven hits have fallen for doubles and Smith’s first home in almost a year seems like it’s just around the corner.

But Smith will have to find a way to stay consistent even when he’s not getting everyday at-bats.

The Mets’ designated-hitter situation is such that Smith and J.D. Davis are battling for plate appearances and it’s no sure thing that either hitter will be rewarded with more opportunities if and when they go on a tear. Like Tuesday, with Reds left-hander Nick Lodolo on the mound, Davis was in the lineup and Smith was on the bench, despite the latter’s two-run double that extended the Mets’ lead in Monday’s win.

“Any time you can come up at a big moment like that it’s a great sign,” Smith said. “To be able to come through, it’s definitely a good feeling and a good sign that I’m able to stay in my legs and stay through the ball.”

Smith reverting to his open stance will give him the chance to do two things: help the Mets offense while they’re in need of a spark from the bottom of the lineup, and improve his numbers before the Aug. 2 trade deadline. The first baseman is without a role on the Mets roster and poses as the team’s best trade candidate.

Mets GM Billy Eppler and his front office were close to trading Smith to the Padres for Chris Paddack and Eric Hosmer back in spring training. It’s possible they will shop Smith again to make improvements in the bullpen. It’s also possible the club will decide Smith is its best option to improve the offense. Either decision will hinge on Smith’s production over these next three weeks.


Chasen Shreve was designated for assignment on Tuesday to clear roster space for Max Scherzer. After an excellent start to the season, Shreve struggled deeply across his last several relief appearances. The veteran left-hander posted a 6.49 ERA over 25 outings for the Mets this season.

“It was tough. Tough conversation,” Buck Showalter said. “But he handled it with a lot of class and professionalism. Like we expected him to. But it wasn’t easy. He’s capable of better. He pitched well for us at times this year and helped us win some games. But we’re kind of at the point where it was time to make some tough decisions so we made them.”

Now, Joely Rodriguez is the only lefty in the Mets’ bullpen. Showalter said he’s hopeful Shreve’s DFA won’t change the way he uses Rodriguez, as it relates to more innings and a higher workload. In recent weeks, the Mets had slowly stopped using Shreve in high-leverage situations anyway. But the DFA decision likely means the Mets will try even harder to acquire bullpen help at the trade deadline.

The Mets will have more roster moves in the coming days. David Peterson will come off the paternity list on Wednesday and Chris Bassitt will come off the COVID IL soon. Relievers Colin Holderman and Adonis Medina are the likely options to be sent down to Triple-A Syracuse when those transactions take place.


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