Cespedes returns from DL to face Yankees

July 19th, 2018

NEW YORK -- After more than nine weeks and multiple setbacks, ' stay on the disabled list has come to an end. The Mets activated Cespedes on Friday and planned to insert him in their lineup against the Yankees tonight as their designated hitter.

Cespedes has not appeared in a big league game since May 13, when he aggravated a right quad and hip flexor issue that he was attempting to play through. The 32-year-old made it all the way to a Minor League rehab assignment in early June, but he experienced pain while playing, prompting the Mets to shut him down.

Cespedes' latest rehab assignment began Tuesday in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League, when he played seven innings in left field, and continued Wednesday, when he made his professional debut at first base. That came a week after manager Mickey Callaway said Cespedes would stick to left field as the Mets try to keep him healthy and on the field for a prolonged stretch. (Callaway did not respond to a message seeking comment about Cespedes seeing time at first.)

Regardless, Cespedes will DH on Friday at Yankee Stadium, and likely throughout the Mets' three-game series there vs. the Yanks. Mets officials previously said they would not activate Cespedes until he proved capable of playing defense, as well, meaning a return to left field is likely to occur Monday, when the Mets return to Citi Field.

In other moves on Friday, the Mets recalled right-hander from Triple-A Las Vegas and optioned infielder and right-hander to Las Vegas.

The return of Cespedes gives the Mets a potent bat back in the middle of their lineup. Before going on the DL, he was hitting .255 with eight home runs and a .790 OPS in 37 games.

Cespedes' long-term absence disappointed a Mets team that watched him spend his offseason doing yoga and eschewing heavy weightlifting in an effort to keep his legs healthy. Cespedes also missed significant chunks of last season due to hamstring and quad problems, and he has appeared in just 46 percent of the team's games since signing a four-year, $110 million contract after the 2016 season.

Since going on the DL, Cespedes has spoken publicly about his injuries just once, during his rehab games in Trenton, N.J. He has rejected numerous other interview requests.