NEW YORK -- The return of Yoenis Cespedes, whom the Mets hoped might put a positive spin on their sour season, has instead devolved into a week-long blur of doctor appointments and X-ray readings. The Mets on Tuesday placed Cespedes -- who has played in less than half of their games since signing a four-year, $110-million contract after the 2016 season -- on the disabled list due to pain in both heels.
Cespedes is still waiting to hear a specialist's opinion before deciding whether to have season-ending surgery, according to both Mets officials and his representatives.
After coming off the disabled list Friday at Yankee Stadium, homering, then complaining afterward of pain in both heels, Cespedes visited Monday with team orthopedist Dr. David Altchek at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan. Cespedes also met with a foot specialist, who forwarded his test results onto a third, out-of-state doctor.
Late Tuesday night, the Mets said they were still awaiting an opinion from that doctor. They planned to issue another update Wednesday morning.
"We're still waiting on word, and get his opinions on all the information he got," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said, referring to the specialist as "one of the best guys in the country."
The best-case scenario for Cespedes would be a return to action following another period of rest and rehab. Worst-case would be surgery, which would sideline Cespedes for eight to 10 months. An operation would not only end Cespedes' season, but also put the beginning of 2019 in jeopardy.
In addition to the three doctors who examined him this week, Cespedes visited a foot specialist in Florida last month regarding his heels.
"I think you take everybody's information and make a judgment call on what they all feel," Callaway said of the decision-making process. "I don't think I've ever been in a situation where two doctors haven't been able to get together and come to some sort of conclusion in the end."
Cespedes, 32, missed significant chunks of last year due to hamstring and quad strains. He spent the winter working on his flexibility, eschewing heavy weights in favor of yoga. But a hip flexor strain landed him on the disabled list May 14, and he wound up missing nine and a half weeks.
Following a lengthy rehab that included at least one setback, Cespedes returned last Friday at Yankee Stadium. He homered and played the entire game as the Mets' designated hitter, but revealed afterward that he was playing through calcification in both heels.
Thus began a spiral of events that continued Saturday, when Callaway -- who later said he "misspoke" -- claimed he was unaware of Cespedes' comments about his heels. The following day, assistant general manager John Ricco defended the Mets' treatment of their $110-million player, who traveled to Manhattan on Monday for his various appointments.
Tuesday, infielder Jeff McNeil took Cespedes' spot on the Mets' active roster. The team also recalled utility man Phillip Evans from Triple-A Las Vegas, designating infielder Ty Kelly for assignment.
The DL stint is Cespedes' fourth in the past two seasons; each of the last three have lasted at least a month.