Cespedes' absence taking a toll on Mets
NEW YORK -- When Yoenis Cespedes injured his right hip flexor on May 6, he indicated that the strain was mild -- not nearly as severe as the leg issues that cost him significant swaths of the 2016 and '17 seasons. Cespedes attempted to play five games through discomfort before landing on the disabled list -- an assignment that, at the time, the Mets painted as precautionary.
More than a month later, Cespedes is not close to a return. He suffered a setback during a Minor League game Saturday with Double-A Binghamton, and will now fly to Florida to reconnect with the Mets' rehabilitation staff. While manager Mickey Callaway said Cespedes is in a better place than he was a month ago, there are no longer any indications of when he might return.
"We had been excited about the prospect of getting him back in a few days," Callaway said. "But we can't let these injuries stop us from doing what we need to do. We have other Major League players who can step up and get the job done, and that's what we need to do."
Few Mets have, as evidenced by the fact that the team sports MLB's 28th ranked offense since Cespedes landed on the DL. The Mets had hoped Cespedes, who owns an .886 OPS over parts of four seasons in New York, would serve as the rock of their offense. To achieve that goal, Cespedes spent his winter doing yoga and eschewing heavy weightlifting in an effort to keep his legs healthy.
He has been unable to do so, and since signing a four-year, $110 million deal after the 2016 season, has appeared in just 53 percent of the Mets' games. The rest of them Cespedes has spent nursing hamstring, hip, quad and other injuries.
Publicly discussing his injury history just once since May 6, Cespedes told reporters in Trenton, N.J., this weekend that hoped to return from the DL on Tuesday.
"When he initially went on the disabled list, it was to knock this completely out so he could come back and be the healthy player he wants to be," Callaway said. "As this continues to move forward, and if it continues to drag on, there has to be a level of understanding that … it's maybe something you battle throughout the rest of your career. But I don't think we're at that point yet. The goal is still to get him to go out there to where he can feel normal."
When asked whether the Mets should have been more cautious with Cespedes when he first suffered the injury, Callaway echoed the previous comments of general manager Sandy Alderson.
"If we took that approach, we wouldn't even be fielding a team today because we have guys that are playing through stuff right now," Callaway said. "You really can't just, right when somebody starts feeling something, take him out of the lineup and put him on the disabled list, or you'd never have a full team."
On the farm
The Mets continued a wave of Minor League promotions with a notable one this weekend, bumping second-ranked prospect David Peterson from Class A Columbia to Class A Advanced St. Lucie. Peterson, the Mets' first-round Draft pick last June, posted a 1.82 ERA in nine starts for Columbia.
The Mets previously promoted Justin Dunn, their No. 3 prospect, from St. Lucie to Binghamton. Dunn shined in his debut there, striking out nine over seven shutout innings.
Under the knife
Reliever Jamie Callahan, who made his big league debut for the Mets last summer, will undergo shoulder surgery, per the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The Mets' No. 23 prospect, Callahan was in the team's plans when they broke camp this spring, but he posted a 9.72 ERA in nine appearances for Triple-A Las Vegas before landing on the DL.
Callaway said the Mets are "very optimistic" that infielder Wilmer Flores (back soreness) and closer Jeurys Familia (right shoulder soreness) will return from the DL on their upcoming road trip through Atlanta, Phoenix and Denver.
The activation of Flores in particular could force the Mets to make a decision on struggling utility man Jose Reyes, who has been the subject of increasing rumors and scrutiny in recent weeks. Reyes entered Sunday's play batting .139 with a .400 OPS.