WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Yoenis Cespedes "felt great" Monday in his return to the lineup following a cortisone shot in his sore right wrist, according to a team spokesman. Appearing for the first time since March 11, Cespedes finished 1-for-3 with a single in the Mets' 2-0 loss to
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Yoenis Cespedes "felt great" Monday in his return to the lineup following a cortisone shot in his sore right wrist, according to a team spokesman. Appearing for the first time since March 11, Cespedes finished 1-for-3 with a single in the Mets' 2-0 loss to the Astros, playing six innings in left field.
"It was great to be back out on the field in a game," Cespedes said, noting that he plans to play again on Tuesday.
That should ease the minds of the Mets, who scratched Cespedes from a March 13 game due to lingering wrist soreness. Cespedes initially injured his wrist swinging a bat the previous week, but played through the discomfort for several games before shutting down.
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Overall this spring, Cespedes is batting .269 with three home runs.
First baseman Dominic Smith's return from a strained right quad remains a slow one. Smith took at-bats in a simulated game Monday, but there is no timetable for his return to Grapefruit League action. The 22-year-old has appeared in just one game this spring and will not make the Mets' Opening Day roster.
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Outfielder Juan Lagares' poor spring continued with an 0-for-4 day at the plate, dropping his Grapefruit League average to .175 in 43 plate appearances. Contrast that to Brandon Nimmo, who is batting .286 in 57 trips to the plate, and the Mets' decision to name an Opening Day center fielder suddenly seems like an easy one.
Although Mets officials entered camp intrigued by the idea of Lagares playing every day while regular center fielder Michael Conforto recovers from shoulder surgery, manager Mickey Callaway indicated Monday that Lagares will have to show more at the plate -- and quickly -- if he is to earn regular playing time.
"What you do at the plate affects things," Callaway said, noting that Lagares' reworked swing is almost certainly playing into his results. "You don't want just a one-dimensional player. … At some point, he's going to have to make sure he just goes out there and competes. I'm not sure when that time is. It's probably [quickly] approaching."
Cut from the 40-man roster this offseason, Phillip Evans is back this spring with an apparent mission to prove he can still be a part of the Mets' long-term plans.
Evans reached base in all four of his plate appearances Monday, increasing his Grapefruit League average to .300 and his OPS to .954 in 18 games. In addition to impressing with a walk-off grand slam in a March 6 win over the Astros, Evans has played five different positions this spring -- not even counting catcher, which he began learning during February workouts.
Although Evans is a long-shot to make the Mets' Opening Day roster, he could be the next man up if Jose Reyes or Wilmer Flores get hurt.
"A guy like that, that can play almost everywhere on the field … it's been very impressive," Callaway said.
Matt Harvey will make his penultimate spring start when the Mets travel to Jupiter, Fla., for a 1:05 p.m. ET game against the Cardinals on Tuesday. Also scheduled to pitch for the Mets are Matt Purke, Hansel Robles and Rafael Montero, all of whom are on the bullpen bubble. Listen to the game on Gameday Audio.
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.