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Mets hope Cespedes available Tuesday

Slugger takes indoor BP; aiming to rejoin lineup soon
Special to MLB.com

NEW YORK -- The Mets knew going into the weekend they likely wouldn't have Yoenis Cespedes in the lineup for any of the three games against the rival Nationals. Their hope was that Cespedes would return for Tuesday's game at Citi Field against the Braves.

That's still the hope, and Cespedes told manager Terry Collins that his strained left hamstring felt much better Sunday. Cespedes was even able to take batting practice for the first time since incurring the injury on Thursday, and there was hope he'd be available to pinch-hit Sunday night.

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NEW YORK -- The Mets knew going into the weekend they likely wouldn't have Yoenis Cespedes in the lineup for any of the three games against the rival Nationals. Their hope was that Cespedes would return for Tuesday's game at Citi Field against the Braves.

That's still the hope, and Cespedes told manager Terry Collins that his strained left hamstring felt much better Sunday. Cespedes was even able to take batting practice for the first time since incurring the injury on Thursday, and there was hope he'd be available to pinch-hit Sunday night.

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But that didn't happen, as the Mets lost to the Nationals, 6-3, with Cespedes in the on-deck circle.

The Mets had also held out some hope Cespedes would be able to pinch-hit Friday or Saturday. Both days, Collins checked during the game and word came back that Cespedes couldn't go.

So even with the improvement Sunday, Collins remained cautious.

"We don't know how long 'Ces' is going to be out," he said.

Collins remembers last year, when a quadriceps injury kept Cespedes out of the lineup for three games. He returned as the designated hitter for a game at Yankee Stadium but reinjured the quad and had to miss the next two weeks.

The Mets entered Sunday winless in three games without Cespedes in the lineup this season; they were 15-21 without him last year, compared to 72-54 in games he started.

In 16 games this year, Cespedes has six home runs and 10 RBIs, with a 1.008 OPS. His bat would be especially welcome in a Mets lineup that has struggled to score over the past week. The Mets entered Sunday with a .211 team batting average, the lowest in the National League.

Besides Cespedes, the Mets are missing first baseman Lucas Duda (hyperextended left elbow) and infielder Wilmer Flores (right knee infection), both on the 10-day disabled list. They also played Sunday without catcher Travis d'Arnaud, whose right wrist contusion hasn't healed enough for him to throw.

Collins returned Jose Reyes to the lineup Sunday, even after telling Reyes he wanted to give him two games off. Reyes has been struggling, but Collins wanted as many left-handed bats as possible against Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer.

Collins expressed confidence that Reyes' early struggles won't continue for long. Reyes entered play Sunday hitting .095.

"All he needs is two solid at-bats to get it going," Collins said.

Danny Knobler is a contributor to MLB.com.

New York Mets, Yoenis Cespedes