Back on the Field, Yoenis Cespedes Is Mum About What Kept Him Away

Written by on February 21, 2020

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is again together with his workforce for the primary time in 19 months, however he has but to publicly focus on the collection of accidents that saved him away.

Cespedes has not played since July 2018, recovering first from operations on both heels and later from an ankle fracture he sustained throughout a run-in with a wild boar on his ranch. Though he’s at spring coaching, he’s nonetheless not 100 % wholesome, and he has refused to talk with reporters.

“Not in the present day, not tomorrow, under no circumstances this 12 months,” he stated when approached by reporters at his locker on Monday, when the Mets had their first full-squad exercise.

“As a result of I don’t wish to,” Cespedes stated when requested why.

Cespedes was restricted within the first week of exercises, however he seems to be inching nearer to full energy: Supervisor Luis Rojas estimated that Cespedes was at 75 to 80 %. The return of the two-time All-Star might bolster a Mets offense that ranked 13th within the majors in runs scored final season.

“I’ve to be assured that he’s going to do it,” Rojas stated of Cespedes’s making a full restoration. “This man could be very decided.”

Cespedes, 34, has battled accidents for many of his profession, which began with the Oakland Athletics in 2012 after he defected from Cuba. The most recent issues started in Might 2018, when he strained his right hip flexor. Two months later — after Cespedes returned for one recreation — his season was shut down so he might endure operations on his heels to take away bone spurs and calcification close to the Achilles’ tendons. The restoration time was anticipated to be eight to 10 months, which made his return for the 2019 season unsure.

Whereas recovering on his ranch in Port St. Lucie final Might, Cespedes fractured his proper ankle in what Mets Normal Supervisor Brodie Van Wagenen has described as a violent fall throughout an encounter with a wild boar. In December, a number of information shops reported that Cespedes had agreed to a major salary reduction, however that there have been performance-based incentives added. He’s within the last 12 months of a four-year contract.

The workforce had been reluctant to share particulars of Cespedes’s restoration, stating solely that he’s progressing. Although the Mets’ exercise on Monday was the primary time that Cespedes had participated in official workforce actions since July 2018, videos he posted on social media in January confirmed him operating and taking batting follow on the workforce’s spring coaching facility.

Cespedes took half in each exercise this week, however at instances broke away from the group to work individually with members of the Mets’ efficiency workers. Rojas stated Cespedes couldn’t but run full out or make cutbacks; he was doing zigzags at one level, however Rojas stated the workers had him cease.

Cespedes additionally did some defensive drills, together with fly-ball follow, though the coaches have been cautious to ship the balls in order that he solely ran straight to catch them. Recognized for his robust arm, Cespedes threw from the outfield to dwelling plate this week, in keeping with Rojas.

“That’s large information for us,” the supervisor stated.

Cespedes additionally confirmed traces of his slugging self all through the week — after a number of stumbles early on. His bat went flying on Monday throughout batting follow, his first time dealing with stay pitching. By Tuesday, although, he was hitting a number of balls over the fence, a lot to the delight of the group readily available. After, Cespedes made an effort to signal autographs and take footage with followers.

On Thursday he acquired a line drive off Jacob deGrom, the reigning two-time Cy Younger Award winner within the Nationwide League. That made deGrom smirk and shake his head, and the 2 joked about it collectively after the session.

“What he does on the sphere is particular when he’s wholesome,” outfielder Michael Conforto stated of Cespedes. “I believe you’ll be able to see how completely happy everyone seems to be to have him again simply purely by that alternate.”

If he can return to prime kind, Cespedes might add energy to the Mets’ offense. His efficiency in 2015, when he spent the primary half of the season with Detroit earlier than we was traded to the Mets, included a batting common of .291, 35 dwelling runs, 42 doubles and 105 R.B.I. He adopted that up in 2016 with a .280 batting common, 31 dwelling runs, 25 doubles and 86 R.B.I.

Cespedes was not anticipated to play in both of the Mets’ cut up squad video games on Saturday, and Rojas stated there was no timetable for when he can be at full energy.

“You possibly can really feel that when it’s time, he’s going to trigger nice impression,” Rojas stated, including, “I’m actually wanting ahead to that.”

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