Francisco Lindor would rather be on the field with the Mets, but with his injury status still week-to-week, the $341 million shortstop took to the streets of Queens to spend time Friday with members of the neighboring community he plans to call his baseball home for the next decade.
The Mets are slated to return to wearing their fan-favorite black jerseys at Friday home games, beginning July 30. Lindor made visits Friday afternoon at popular Cuban restaurant Rincon Criollo in Corona, the Filthy Rich Barbershop in Woodside and FDNY Squad 288 in Maspeth. He passed out signed black shirts and game tickets, spending time chatting with proprietors and employees at each stop.
“I definitely wish I was on the field right now, but I am trying to actually get to know the area, too,” Lindor told The Post following his final stop at the fire station. “Before, when I first got here, it was just work, work, work.
“I would love for it to continue to be work, work, work, but for right now, today was special to get to know all of these people who have opened their doors to me.”
The 27-year-old Lindor offered no concrete update on the right oblique strain that landed him on the 10-day injured list July 17, adding he has no official time frame to resume physical activity.
“I’m a little better, I’m improving, thank God,” Lindor said. “I trust the trainers and I trust the program that they have for me. I trust the Lord, the good Lord is going to heal me up. Just follow the protocols and see how everything goes.
“I would love to be doing things, but not yet. Like I said, it’s week-to-week. This first week was just letting the body recover and rest, and we’ll go from there. I would love to have a timeline, and I would love to say, ‘Hey, I’m back in a week,’ but I really don’t. This is the first time I have [had an injury] like this.”
Indeed, Lindor averaged 154 games per season during his first four full years in the majors with Cleveland, and he appeared in all 60 games during the pandemic-abbreviated 2020 campaign before his offseason trade to the Mets. The four-time All-Star had appeared in 87 of the Mets’ first 88 games before suffering the oblique injury on a swing last Friday at Pittsburgh in the team’s first game after the All-Star break.
Following a slow start offensively, Lindor had posted a .333/.489/.500 slash line in 12 July appearances, with two homers and 10 RBIs.
“I’ve never missed the amount of games I’m gonna miss in a season, so it sucks,” Lindor said. “But I trust the guys. I know the guys are working as hard as they can and we’re a resilient bunch.
“The guys will continue to put in the work and we’re gonna stay in first place, God willing, and whenever I come back, it’s just a matter of playing the rest of the season and making it to the postseason.”
Lindor met and posed for photos Friday with the owners and staff at Rincon Criollo. He said he has never frequented the restaurant, but it was a popular spot among former Mets such as Yoenis Cespedes, Amed Rosario (who was traded for Lindor) and former GM Omar Minaya.
Lindor also got his beard trimmed by owner Richard Mendoza at the Filthy Rich Barbershop, before spending time at FDNY Squad 288 speaking to captain Mike Smithwick and dozens of others among New York’s Bravest, including viewing the memorial wall set up for firefighters killed in the line of duty.
“It was so special,” Lindor said. “These are the people who keep the community going. Seeing the things I saw here, the wall that they have honoring the people that have lost their lives in the line of duty, it’s very special. We should always continue to honor them.
“We all should be thankful for the things they have done. Without them and the police, the community wouldn’t be as safe. I am proud to be here meeting them.”
FDNY Squad 288 lost eight members during the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
“We always love having the Mets here, and I think [the players] like it, too,” Capt. Smithwick said. “The guys get excited. We’re pretty humble people, but it just feels like a little recognition.”