NEW YORK -- A day after Yoenis Cespedes returned to the Mets following a nine-and-a-half-week absence, homered, then revealed that he is battling heel issues that may require major surgery to fix, Cespedes was out of the Mets' lineup Saturday against the Yankees. Manager Mickey Callaway, who said he was unaware of Cespedes' comments regarding his heels, painted the issue as one of general soreness.
"That's concerning," Callaway added. "I feel bad for the guy. He has worked so hard. If you see the stuff he has to go through to get back -- he worked so hard this winter. We talked about everything that he tried to do to put himself in a good spot to come out and be healthy for the team. I feel for the guy because he's done everything he possibly can to stay healthy. It's just not happening for him."
When the Mets activated Cespedes from the disabled list on Friday, their expectation was that he would be able to start all three games against the Yankees. But Cespedes began experiencing soreness while running out a ground ball in the eighth inning, and he did not feel well enough to play by Saturday afternoon.
Asked if Cespedes was feeling soreness in his heels, quad or hip, Callaway said that everything is "interconnected."
The manager also said he could not speak in detail about Cespedes' heel issues, deferring to team doctors. (The Mets, per team policy, do not make their medical staff available to the media. Neither Cespedes nor anyone from the front office was available Saturday morning to discuss the issue.) Callaway did reveal that the Mets have long been aware of Cespedes' problem, but that they believed it wouldn't be an issue when he returned from the DL. Instead, Cespedes will visit a doctor in the coming days for another examination.
"We thought his heels were in a really good spot coming in, or we wouldn't have activated him," Callaway said. "He was good to go. He was in a good spot. As far as what the doctors have advised Yo -- or know about it -- I wasn't in the room. It would be tough for me to speculate on anything."
Following Friday's game, Cespedes said he has been dealing with heel pain for 15 years, and that he may require surgery -- which carries an eight- to 10-month rehab -- to fix the issue. When asked if he could make it through the season without surgery, Cespedes shrugged and replied: "I don't know."
In the interim, Callaway said the Mets will continue to proceed day to day with Cespedes, who spends multiple hours every day on a warm-up program to prepare his body for games. For as long as Cespedes is on the active roster, the Mets will check in with him daily to gauge his availability.
"I feel bad for the guy because he does everything he can to go out there and stay on the field, just like all of our players do," Callaway said. "Everybody battles something. But in his case, it's been extraordinarily tough for him to be on the field."