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Cespedes exits early, but downplays shoulder injury

CHICAGO -- With a grin that couldn't be wiped off and goggles resting on his forehead, Yoenis Cespedes made a promise during the Mets' pennant-clinching celebration on Wednesday night.

"I'll be ready," Cespedes said, following an 8-3 victory in Game 4 that bumped the Cubs from the National League Championship Series and sent the Mets to the World Series. "If not, I'll chop it off and put a new one on."

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He was referring, facetiously, of course, to his left shoulder, which bothered him so much on Wednesday that it prompted a second-inning departure. Cespedes described the issue as soreness in his joint, to which the Mets' medical staff assured him there was no structural damage. He is expected to receive a cortisone injection and be ready before the World Series opens in Kansas City or Toronto on Tuesday on FOX.

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"[He] is going to be OK," manager Terry Collins reiterated after the game. "We're going to work out on Friday, and I'm sure he'll be ready for that."

Cespedes logged two plate appearances before exiting, though he said it was after his first one that he initially felt the discomfort. In that plate appearance, Cespedes drew a two-out walk to extend what became a four-run first inning for New York. He then struck out against Cubs reliever Travis Wood in the second and did not return to the field.

"I don't really know," Cespedes said, when asked the moment of injury. "I just know that after the first at-bat, when I went back to the dugout, it just started bothering me. That's when I felt it."

Cespedes, who throws and hits right-handed, dismissed any potential correlation between the shoulder soreness and playing golf earlier in the day. Cespedes noted that he has played golf regularly before games for the last two seasons, and that the sport has "actually helped me with my swing."

The Mets, who replaced Cespedes in center field with Juan Lagares on Wednesday, would feature a much more formidable offense if Cespedes returns to his cleanup spot for the World Series. Acquired by the Mets in a non-waiver Trade Deadline deal with Detroit, Cespedes is 9-for-34 with two homers, seven RBIs and six runs this postseason.

"This is incredible," Cespedes said of advancing to his first Fall Classic. "This has been the greatest moment of my career thus far. I really don't have words to explain what I'm feeling right now."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for and listen to her podcast.
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