PORT ST. LUCIE — Drew Smith was projected last year around this time to be part of the Mets’ bullpen, but a torn elbow ligament changed that plan.
Now, 11 months removed from Tommy John surgery, the fireballing reliever is hoping he can emerge as an early-season option for the club.
Smith has begun throwing from the mound in his comeback attempt from the surgery, which he underwent last March 12. The full rehab usually takes 13-14 months.
“Last year just seeing the team and watching it on TV, that was really difficult,” Smith said Wednesday. “You know you are a part of the team, but being hurt it’s just like you feel you’re not and mentally it kind of gets to you, but you stick to your rehab process, go about your business and know that you will get back to the point you were at before, and that is what I have been doing.”
Smith was acquired by the Mets in the 2017 trade that sent Lucas Duda to the Rays. The right-hander appeared in 27 games for the Mets in 2018 and pitched to a 3.54 ERA.
“He was a great asset in our bullpen a couple of years back,” said new manager Luis Rojas, who managed Smith at Double-A Binghamton.
Shortstop Luis Guillorme…