Home News Mets’ Starling Marte hits Opening Day home run after injury-plagued 2023: ‘It...

Mets’ Starling Marte hits Opening Day home run after injury-plagued 2023: ‘It feels good to be healthy’

Starling Marte clapped his hands and unleashed a smile as he broke into a home run trot.

His second-inning solo shot, a 109.2-mph blast, had just cleared the wall in left-center, caroming off of the Citi Field guardrail and back onto the outfield grass to give the Mets a 1-0 lead on Opening Day against the Brewers.

“When I got to second, I saw [Brewers left fielder Christian] Yelich, the way that he threw the ball in,” Marte said. “Then I saw the umpire [signal]. That’s when I was able to realize I hit a home run.”

The 381-foot blast against Brewers ace Freddy Peralta offered reason for encouragement, considering a rash of injuries derailed the 35-year-old Marte’s 2023 campaign.

Marte, who underwent double groin surgery in November 2022, missed the final two months of last season with a right groin strain, and he also spent time on the injured list with migraines. He said in September that another groin surgery would be on the table if he didn’t respond to rehab, but he managed to avoid that this offseason.

“It feels good to be healthy,” Marte said Friday. “After everything that I went through last year with all the injuries and all the problems that I had, it felt really good.”

Marte’s home run on a 3-2 fastball ended up being the Mets’ lone hit in a 3-1 loss to Milwaukee. He flirted with a second home run when a 364-foot drive to right field required the Brewers’ Jackson Chourio to make a leaping catch on the warning track.

Marte was an All-Star in 2022 but batted just .248 with five home runs and 28 RBI in 86 games last season.

He hit .159 without a home run in 44 at-bats this spring, but the Mets came away optimistic.

“The way he was moving around in spring training, I know he didn’t get the results he wanted, but it was just more about him feeling healthy, feeling good,” manager Carlos Mendoza said after Friday’s game. “We’re pretty confident that he’s a healthy player.”

Marte is in the third season of a four-year, $78 million contract. Friday’s game marked the third home opener in a row that Marte homered in.

“He’s a healthy player, and I think that’s a really good start,” president of baseball operations David Stearns said before Friday’s game. “I’m not going to put any arbitrary expectations on what we’re going to get this year, but I’m really happy he’s healthy. I know he feels good. He’s in a confident place right now.”

His Mets teammates are similarly confident in the right fielder.

“He looks like Marte,” shortstop Francisco Lindor said. “He looks healthy, and I think he’s going to have a good year.


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