NEW YORK -- The message from manager Terry Collins has been the same throughout this rough stretch of play for the Mets; "We're still in this thing." Despite having a roster depleted by injuries and losing 12 of their last 16 games, the club found itself only three games back
NEW YORK -- The message from manager Terry Collins has been the same throughout this rough stretch of play for the Mets; "We're still in this thing." Despite having a roster depleted by injuries and losing 12 of their last 16 games, the club found itself only three games back of the Marlins for the final National League Wild Card spot entering play on Saturday.
Now, it seems, the Mets are closing in on getting back the players they need to make a run down the stretch, beginning by activating infielder José Reyes (left intercostal strain) from the 15-day disabled list on Saturday.
"His energy is going to bring something here," Collins said. "I think one thing Jose is going to bring to us -- and before he got hurt he was showing -- is his leadership on the field and we need that energy. He's trying to revitalize his career, and he's in the right place for that.
"If anybody loves to play in New York and come through, it's Jose Reyes. Tonight is a good day to have him back."
The club also recalled right-handed pitcher and No. 18 prospect Gabriel Ynoa on Saturday to provide some length in the bullpen after Seth Lugo, Erik Goeddel and Hansel Robles were asked to throw a combined 6 1/3 innings of relief on Friday. To make room for Reyes and Ynoa, the Mets optioned right-handed pitcher Logan Verrett and infielder Matt Reynolds to Triple-A Las Vegas.
The Mets also anticipate getting Yoenis Céspedes (strained right quad) and Asdrúbal Cabrera (strained patellar tendon in left knee) back into the lineup within the next week. Cespedes will begin a rehab assignment on Monday in Class A Advanced St. Lucie, and he is expected to join the Mets on Thursday when the team travels to San Francisco. Cabrera will likely begin a rehab assignment Tuesday and return shortly after Cespedes.
"We're looking here in the next seven days -- with Jose back, Cespedes coming back shortly, Cabrera getting back shortly -- those guys cannot get back at a better time," Collins said. "We need them."
During their recent skid, the Mets have averaged 3.56 runs per game, but the combination of Reyes, Cespedes and Cabrera could provide some life to the offense. In 16 games this season, Reyes has slugged .493 atop the Mets' lineup, with nine of his 16 hits going for extra bases.
Before landing on the disabled list, Cespedes hit .289/.362/.548 with 22 home runs and 59 RBIs hitting in the heart of the order. Cabrera slashed .255/.308/.410 with 13 home runs and 33 RBIs while also posting a .987 fielding percentage at shortstop, which is tied for the third-highest mark among qualified shortstops.
"To win games, you have to score runs," Reyes said. "We have to find a way to score three or four runs. You cannot always rely on your pitching. You have to make something happen on the field by scoring runs and make the life easy for the pitcher.
"Whoever is going to score a lot of runs in this game, they are going to win a lot of ballgames, so that's something we need to do."
Troy Provost-Heron is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York.