Michael Conforto departs game with tight lower back

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- New York Mets outfielder Michael Conforto departed Wednesday's Grapefruit League game complaining of lower-back tightness after a fourth-inning strikeout, but downplayed the injury.

Conforto had taken a 3½-hour bus ride from Port St. Lucie to Dunedin on Wednesday morning. He believes that trip, as well as compressed pregame preparation time, may have contributed to the back flare-up.

Conforto had been scheduled to remain overnight on Florida's Gulf Coast and participate in Thursday's split-squad game against the Boston Red Sox in Fort Myers. Instead, Conforto was rerouted back to Port St. Lucie after Wednesday's 3-1 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. He will be examined by team medical personnel at the organization's spring-training complex on Thursday, manager Terry Collins said.

Conforto said the tightness had not previously been an issue, although Collins acknowledged previous back issues, albeit minor.

“He’s had it in the past,” Collins said. “He’s had some spasms in the past -- early in camp, when you sweat too much or something.”

Said Conforto: "It could have been the bus ride. Just on the first swing in that second at-bat, it just kind of stiffened up a little bit. When I came back in, I told Terry it stiffened up. I'll probably go back to St. Lucie just to get a little treatment. I feel OK. It's just a little stiff.

"It's a little bit frustrating because I can't remember the last time I came out of a game. But I've been relatively pain-free, or no back tightness. Today was a weird day. ... It was an early bus ride. We got here a little bit late. I didn't get to swing in the cage before I went out on the field. So, I think, a little preparation and a little treatment, I'll be fine in a few days."