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'Mindful' of history, Mets keep Yo active for now

MRI reveals mild right hip flexor strain for slugger; deGrom, Matz flipped in rotation
MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

NEW YORK -- Yoenis Cespedes' history of playing through injuries, only to worsen them, has not deterred the Mets from continuing to use their ailing outfielder at less than 100 percent. Cespedes underwent an MRI on Tuesday that revealed a mild strain of his right hip flexor -- the same injury that the team has called a sore right hip, and that Cespedes has referred to as a sore right quad.

But the Mets did not place Cespedes on the disabled list. Instead, they removed him from Tuesday's lineup and declared him ready to pinch-hit, though team officials admitted they are hesitant to use him unless a game is on the line. Sending Cespedes up for a plate appearance would eliminate the Mets' ability to backdate a potential DL stint to Sunday, the last day Cespedes played.

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NEW YORK -- Yoenis Cespedes' history of playing through injuries, only to worsen them, has not deterred the Mets from continuing to use their ailing outfielder at less than 100 percent. Cespedes underwent an MRI on Tuesday that revealed a mild strain of his right hip flexor -- the same injury that the team has called a sore right hip, and that Cespedes has referred to as a sore right quad.

But the Mets did not place Cespedes on the disabled list. Instead, they removed him from Tuesday's lineup and declared him ready to pinch-hit, though team officials admitted they are hesitant to use him unless a game is on the line. Sending Cespedes up for a plate appearance would eliminate the Mets' ability to backdate a potential DL stint to Sunday, the last day Cespedes played.

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"This will be the moment, in the next couple of days, where we make a decision," general manager Sandy Alderson said.

Cespedes was unavailable for comment pregame Tuesday, as he was throughout the weekend in Philadelphia, repeatedly declining requests to speak to the media. Alderson was likewise coy when asked how Cespedes felt about the prospect of going on the DL, responding simply, "We discussed it."

Video: COL@NYM: Cespedes exits the game with quad tightness

When pressed, Alderson expanded only somewhat: "He's prepared to be realistic about his situation," the GM said.

If nothing else, Cespedes has been productive playing through his injury, going 5-for-15 with two walks and a home run since tweaking his hip May 6. But the Mets remain wary given Cespedes' history. In 2016, he played through a strained right quadriceps only to hit the DL when the injury worsened. A year later, Cespedes attempted to play through a sore left hamstring. He ultimately suffered a setback and missed six weeks.

Despite those experiences, Cespedes remains active this week.

"We're very aware that it hasn't just been Cespedes, but there have been other players as well who have attempted to play through injury," Alderson said. "We're very mindful that at some point, this can't continue."

Video: NYM@CIN: Cespedes lifts a sac fly to deep center

Rotation shuffle
In addition to Jason Vargas, Steven Matz threw a simulated game Tuesday afternoon at Citi Field, firing 37 pitches over two innings. The Mets gave Matz the extra work because they are pushing him back a day in the rotation, to Saturday, moving Jacob deGrom up to Friday after the right-hander threw just 45 pitches in his last start.

Manager Mickey Callaway said he has been looking all season for an opportunity to split up deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, the team's two best pitchers, both of them power right-handers. deGrom's abbreviated outing in Philadelphia was the impetus he needed.

Video: NYM@PHI: deGrom works in and out of trouble

Vargas, also, pitched a simulated game, throwing approximately 80 pitches over four innings. The Mets skipped Vargas' last start, hoping the time off will allow him to fine-tune things after going 0-3 with a 13.86 ERA his first three outings.

"We won't know until we get back out there," said Vargas, who will return for one of the Mets' games next week against the Marlins. "These are the things we're doing so that I don't have to think when I'm out there. It was really important to get a big amount of reps in, especially with the extended time off. … It was a productive day, and I'm looking forward to taking the mound soon."

Possible progress
David Wright expects to meet with back specialist Dr. Robert Watkins at the end of May for an examination to determine if he is ready to resume baseball activities. The Mets announced in mid-March that Wright would rest for eight weeks, but that clock did not begin until Wright last saw Watkins at the end of March.

Wright, who has not played in a big league game since May 2016, is optimistic that he will be able to begin baseball activities. But he knows the true test will not occur until he ramps up his swinging and throwing to game-like speed. Back, neck and shoulder injuries have kept Wright from doing so for most of the past two years.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.

New York Mets, Yoenis Cespedes, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, David Wright