Céspedes progressing, but not ready for games

February 21st, 2020

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- As expected, will not participate when the Mets open their Grapefruit League schedule Saturday with split-squad matchups against the Marlins and Cardinals.

Céspedes continued to work out on a limited basis this week in Port St. Lucie, taking live batting practice and running through outfield drills as he recovers from multiple heel surgeries and a fractured right ankle. He did not participate in all activities, however, due to the time he needed with Mets trainers. Céspedes is only running in straight lines at the moment, and never at full speed.

“He’s basically going through the schedule let’s say at 75% of it, 80% of what everyone else is doing,” manager Luis Rojas said. “That’s big news for us. Timeline, we don’t know yet. He’s got to go through this progression, and our performance staff is working closely with him. He’s doing a good job of it.”

Rojas was particularly impressed with Céspedes’ performance in live batting practice, facing pitchers including Jacob deGrom and putting strong swings on balls. Against Michael Wacha, Céspedes sent one ball over the left-field fence, but several feet foul. He later hit multiple home runs during regular batting practice.

“I think it was a really big week for him,” Rojas said. “He’s advancing. He’s progressing. He’s doing things every day that they just impress you. Out there, taking fly balls with the rest of the outfielders, obviously limited with the movement laterally and covering ground, but he’s going out there and he’s moving, getting behind balls, making throws.”

The Mets do not have a timeline for when Céspedes will be able to appear in Grapefruit League games, if he’s able to do so at all.

Rain, rain, go away
The Mets canceled their simulated game on Friday due to inclement weather. With rain drizzling down at Clover Park all afternoon, the team instead kept its activities indoors.

Saturday marks the first day of Grapefruit League games for the Mets. Rick Porcello, Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil and Wilson Ramos are slated to play in the home half of a split-squad game against the Marlins. Marcus Stroman, Brandon Nimmo, J.D. Davis, Amed Rosario and René Rivera will go on the road to face the Cardinals.

The team will also host a 10 a.m. ET ribbon-cutting ceremony in Port St. Lucie to unveil $57 million worth of renovations at Clover Park.

Movie night
The Mets have several team-bonding activities scheduled for this spring. Friday was movie night; the team was scheduled to gather to watch "Just Mercy," starring Jamie Foxx, Michael B. Jordan and Brie Larson.

Earlier this week, the Mets participated in an outing to a local complex featuring mini golf and a golf simulator.