Michael Conforto gives real glimpse into Mets’ best hope

PORT ST. LUCIE — Michael Conforto’s abnormal spring took a turn toward the normal Friday as he stepped into the batter’s box in a competitive situation for the first time.The setting was a back field at the Mets spring training complex and the opponent was a minor league team, but

Diamondbacks think Yankees traded for the right guy again

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Diamondbacks have had infield depth — and that is why the Yankees have their starting left side of the infield.In December 2014 — as part of a three-team trade also involving the Tigers — Didi Gregorius was sent from the Diamondbacks to the Yankees.At that time,

Neil Walker’s focus is on future with Yanks, not past Mets drama

TAMPA — He played two positions and batted from two sides of the plate while playing for three teams on two different fields.Welcome to Neil Walker’s rush-job spring training. Welcome to life after escaping free-agency hell.The second baseman’s long, strange trip isn’t quite over yet, even after the Yankees threw

Aaron Judge has begun recruiting Manny Machado to Yankees

SARASOTA, Fla. — The Yankees got their first spring-training look at potential free-agent target Manny Machado on Wednesday.And Aaron Judge said he took the opportunity to make his pitch to the Baltimore third baseman-turned-shortstop, who is due to become one of the top two free-agent bats next offseason.“I told him

Why baseball player got off easy after beating girlfriend

A district attorney in Texas is defending the probationary sentence given to a minor league baseball player caught on video beating his then-girlfriend in a stairwell, saying he didn’t receive “special treatment.”Nueces County District Attorney Mark Gonzalez said Danry Vasquez — a 24-year-old Venezuelan outfielder who was playing for the

The Yankees give Gleyber Torres the bad news

TAMPA  — Gleyber Torres’ slim hopes of making the Opening Day roster for the Yankees vanished Tuesday, when he was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre following a 2-2 tie against the Tigers.Torres went 1-for-2 with a walk at Steinbrenner Field and is now 4-for-25 in 11 games this spring.The 21-year-old is

Baseball abuser speaks — and his battered ex wishes she had

The minor league baseball player caught on video beating his then-girlfriend in a stairwell is asking for forgiveness, saying he’s “truly changed” since the disturbing attack — and is now married to another woman.In an interview with El Emergente, Danry Vasquez, a 24-year-old Venezuela native who was released by the

MLB’s slap on wrist shouldn’t change affable Aaron Judge

TAMPA — Aaron Judge proved last year he can take a punch. How will he handle a slap on the wrist?Here’s hoping he reacts similarly.The cheery Yankees slugger found himself in the unprecedented position Thursday morning, at George M. Steinbrenner Field, of offering a mea culpa for his misdemeanor of

Didi Gregorius feels the looming Manny Machado threat

TAMPA — Didi Gregorius was well aware of Manny Machado’s impending free agency even before it gained national attention, when Aaron Judge told the Orioles’ shortstop that he would “look good in pinstripes.”And while many expect the Yankees to make a serious run at Machado following this season, it can

Aaron Boone momentarily forgot to put a pitcher in the game

TAMPA — Among the questions Aaron Boone faced when he was hired despite never having coached or managed was how he would handle game situations in the moment.On Saturday, he had his first slip-up.After Dellin Betances pitched the fourth inning, Adam Warren was scheduled to replace him to start the

A new Kevin Plawecki is making serious run at d’Arnaud’s job

PORT ST. LUCIE — Kevin Plawecki slid toward the Mets dugout, tumbled and in one motion flipped the ball to home plate, where his awaiting pitcher tagged out the runner attempting to score from third on Thursday.It was a play Matt Harvey said he had practiced with Plawecki on the

Yankees youngsters were never going to carry them all the way

TAMPA — Tough spring training for the Baby Bombers.Good spring training for the Yankees.You love your young pinstriped guys, the more homegrown the better, for good reason. You monitor their development and celebrate their arrival in The Bronx.Nevertheless, it’s indisputable that, with Monday’s signing of Neil Walker, the Yankees will

Mets make this Yoenis Cespedes change a top priority of spring

PORT ST. LUCIE — There is a big change going on with the Mets that is not getting much attention. Slugger Yoenis Cespedes, who has spent most of his career batting third, fourth or fifth, is hitting second this spring in Mickey Callaway’s lineup.Trying to get the right lineup mix

The only thing that remains from Giancarlo Stanton’s moment of terror

TAMPA — There was an unusual sight when Giancarlo Stanton came to the plate for the first time on Saturday against the Mets’ Matt Harvey: the face guard Stanton has worn since getting drilled in the face four years ago was absent.But Stanton wasn’t trying to see how he felt

Yankees stud prospect learning the hard lessons at 1st MLB camp

TAMPA — This, late Tuesday afternoon at George M. Steinbrenner Field, represented why Estevan Florial belongs in the Yankees’ major league camp.This, when the 20-year-old committed what could have been a game-losing gaffe and failed to drive in what would have been the game-winning run.“A good teaching moment there,” said

A Juan Lagares trade is looking more and more possible

PORT ST. LUCIE — The planets are aligning as such that Juan Lagares could begin the season with another team.According to industry sources, the Mets have received recent phone calls about the former Gold Glove winner and haven’t ruled out the idea of trading him. The trade buzz comes as

What if Robinson Cano never left the Yankees?

PEORIA, Ariz. — In an alternate universe, the Yankees bend and Robinson Cano bends and maybe — just maybe — they meet in the middle of the 10 years he was demanding and the seven years the team was willing to consider, and rather than leave, he stays after the

‘Badass’ is bringing nasty streak back to Mets’ pitching staff

PORT ST. LUCIE — Batters beware.Mets pitchers are taking back the inner half of the plate under new pitching coach Dave Eiland with the blessing of new manager Mickey Callaway. They are going to pitch inside with a purpose, and sometimes they will miss in and hit batters.That’s life in

Why the Astros look a lot like the most recent Yankees dynasty

They played in three stadiums and three divisions under two different names and two different leagues. In their first 55 seasons, the Astros went a lot of places, but never to the top of the sport.Yet, perhaps as well as anyone since the 1998-2000 Yankees last did it, these Astros

David Wright gets another devastating health update

PORT ST. LUCIE — David Wright’s already slim chances of resuming his baseball career have been sliced even thinner.The Mets captain won’t begin baseball activities for at least eight weeks, the team announced Tuesday in an injury report. Wright, who is recovering from multiple surgeries, was re-examined by Dr. Robert

Yankees agree to deal with Neil Walker

TAMPA — The Yankees took advantage of the historically slow free-agent market and landed Neil Walker on a one-year deal on Monday pending a physical, The Post’s Joel Sherman confirmed.The arrival of Walker gives the Yankees a quality veteran infielder and at $5 million, allows them to keep to their

How new-look Mets are laying groundwork for better culture

PORT ST. LUCIE — As one contingent of Mets conducted official work Saturday across the state, taking on the Yankees in Tampa, another subset accomplished something else — unofficial, yet not insignificant — at First Data Field.Todd Frazier made like Joe Pesci in “Goodfellas,” setting up a chair alongside Jay

Yankees’ big bats show Matt Harvey there is more work left

TAMPA — Matt Harvey’s resurgent spring took a detour Saturday, with the Yankees’ two marquee players providing much of the angst.Aaron Judge reached base three times against the Mets righthander, and Giancarlo Stanton crushed a 94 mph fastball, planting it behind the right-center fence at Steinbrenner Field, completing Harvey’s third

Ken Singleton is leaving the Yankees booth

The YES Network’s revolving booth will have a different look next season.Ken Singleton, who has been a Yankees analyst since 1997, announced Monday morning that this would be his final year with the YES Network.“This will be my final season of calling baseball games,” Singleton wrote on Twitter. “I’ve been

Mets are banking on their Yankees-like breakthrough

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — When Michael Conforto made the NL All-Star team a year ago, he became the first homegrown Mets position player to do so since Daniel Murphy in 2014. And prior to that, David Wright and Jose Reyes were just about the team’s only representatives.And though the

Cubs getting one marquee player for the price of two

MESA, Ariz. — The Cubs continue to work to get Jason Heyward to hit more like Kyle Schwarber and Schwarber to field more like Heyward.The recipe this year has called for less food for Schwarber and more Chili for Heyward.“When those guys are on the field I feel good about

Dodgers ready to rewrite saddest part of franchise history

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Think of the Dodgers as Sisyphus. Just they are pushing the rock up the hill in a Mercedes … with a chauffeur … while sipping Dom Perignon.They have been the team with everything — except a championship since 1988.And the last few years have been particularly taunting

How Andrew Miller unwittingly helped turn free agency upside down

GOODYEAR, Ariz. — We are discussing causes for the free-agent slowdown and I use the term “confluence of reasons,” and Andrew Miller calls the variety of explanations “a perfect storm.”The Indians’ super reliever returns a few times to an underappreciated but vital piece of the “storm,” the sale of the

One team just a step below MLB’s Magnificent Seven

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Talk to a baseball executive or check the Vegas odds and it will be clear a Magnificent Seven has formed for 2018. The Nationals, Cubs and Dodgers are strong favorites to win their divisions for at least a third straight year, the Astros for a second straight