Mets don't expect outfielder Michael Conforto to return from injury until May

The New York Mets are likely to begin the season without All-Star outfielder Michael Conforto, as general manager Sandy Alderson told reporters Wednesday that the 24-year-old is on track to return from shoulder surgery in early May.

"Conforto probably will not be ready," Alderson said. "Everything's going as planned. There have been no setbacks. But his schedule is such that I don't expect him back until the first of May."

Conforto had surgery in September after dislocating his left shoulder on a swing during a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 24. The injury ended what was a breakout season for Conforto, who hit .279/.384/.555 with 27 home runs and 68 RBI in earning his first career All-Star selection.

Conforto primarily played left field last season but was expected to move from the position with Yoenis Cespedes healthy. New addition Jay Bruce, who rejoined the team on a three-year, $39 million deal after being traded by the Mets last season, will likely man right field while Brandon Nimmo and Juan Lagares split time in center.

When Conforto returns, he could take over in center, where he appeared in 43 games last season, or right field, shifting Bruce to first base. Bruce told reporters Wednesday he's willing to play the position, though "first base is not my first choice."

The Mets are expected to finalize a deal with first baseman Adrian Gonzalez soon that could add another name to the position mix.