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After thumb scare, Cespedes clubs 7th homer

Callaway, Alderson talk Harvey report; updates on Matz, Swarzak, Plawecki
MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

NEW YORK -- The worst averted, Yoenis Cespedes returned to the Mets' lineup for Tuesday's 3-2 loss to the Braves at Citi Field, just two days after leaving a game early due to a sore left thumb.

"We took him out as a precaution," manager Mickey Callaway said. "That's all it was at the time. He's a tough kid. He's been playing the game the right way. And when you play as hard as he plays, little things happen. So we thought it was best to get him out."

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NEW YORK -- The worst averted, Yoenis Cespedes returned to the Mets' lineup for Tuesday's 3-2 loss to the Braves at Citi Field, just two days after leaving a game early due to a sore left thumb.

"We took him out as a precaution," manager Mickey Callaway said. "That's all it was at the time. He's a tough kid. He's been playing the game the right way. And when you play as hard as he plays, little things happen. So we thought it was best to get him out."

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Injuring his finger sliding into third base on a stolen-base attempt, Cespedes underwent an X-ray Sunday in San Diego, which was negative. The Mets declined to send Cespedes for an MRI to assess potential ligament damage; when asked why, general manager Sandy Alderson declined to comment beyond saying, "He didn't need one."

Cespedes, who was heating up at the plate when he was pulled on Sunday, stayed hot on Tuesday, clobbering his seventh homer of the season in the sixth inning off Braves rookie right-hander Mike Soroka. The solo blast marked his sixth hit in six straight at-bats dating back to Saturday after he singled in his first two chances on Tuesday.

Cespedes snapped that streak in the eighth inning with a fly out, then departed immediately after the game to attend to a family matter, according to a Mets spokesman. He left without addressing his performance.

Video: ATL@NYM: Cespedes cuts down Suzuki at home plate

"That guy's an animal," starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard said. "It's going to take a lot more than a thumb issue to take him out of the lineup. It's a lot of fun watching him hit the ball all over the ballpark."

Cespedes also impressed with his arm on Tuesday, throwing out Kurt Suzuki at the plate on Ryan Flaherty's single to end the top of the seventh inning.

Lesson learned
Callaway met with Matt Harvey this week to discuss his off-field habits, after the New York Post reported Harvey was spotted partying Thursday in Los Angeles -- a night before he allowed a home run in relief in San Diego. The pitcher walked Callaway through the ins and outs of his evening, convincing his manager that nothing sinister was at play.

"It is bad in the sense that it's getting publicity, and Matt has to be aware of that, that the things he does -- right or wrong -- are going to be brought to the forefront," Callaway said. "We have to make sure that it's never a distraction from what we're trying to do as a team."

Alderson took a harder line on Harvey, though he said he didn't believe anything Harvey did in Los Angeles jeopardized his mound performance. Harvey's checkered past includes a skipped workout during the 2015 postseason, and a suspension last year for showing up late to work.

Video: NYM@SD: Cordero belts a solo homer to center field

"Matt has to understand that people always notice what he does," Alderson said. "It's like a borderline pitch. In his case, it always gets called a strike."

Asked if he was upset at Harvey's latest transgression, Alderson quipped:

"Usually I get upset if a report is unexpected. So I guess the short answer is no."

Injury updates
Steven Matz will not be available out of the bullpen this week, due to the same bout of back soreness that prompted the Mets to skip his turn in the rotation. The Mets do not, however, expect the episode to affect Matz's availability to start Saturday against the Rockies.

• Reliever Anthony Swarzak, who has not pitched since March due to a strained left oblique, is still not close to returning. The oblique injury resulted in a complication in his rib cage, according to Alderson, which could force his absence to linger deep into a second month.

Video: STL@NYM: Swarzak works out of a jam in the 7th

• Catcher Kevin Plawecki is also recovering slowly from a fractured bone in his left hand. Already down for three weeks, Plawecki will not return in time to hit the Mets' initial projection of 3-4 weeks on the disabled list, as his grip strength still has not improved.

In the interim, Alderson said he has made inquiries with various teams about catchers, but he found a lack of available backstops who would be marked improvements over current options Jose Lobaton and Tomas Nido. As such, the Mets, who have little interest in what Alderson called "incremental improvement," are unlikely to make a move anytime soon.

"We've looked for ways to improve the catching we have, and continue to watch the waiver wire and other opportunities as they might arise," Alderson said. "At this point, there's been nothing at which we wanted to jump and make a change."

Gift of life
For the second straight year, the Mets hosted the first-ever meeting between a bone marrow donor and recipient Tuesday at Citi Field. JoAnn Cotter, of Rochester, N.Y., met Michael Broker, a medical student from the Bronx. Broker donated marrow to Cotter, who was suffering from acute myeloid leukemia, in Dec. 2016.

"You can get back your life and carry on, and be healthy again," Cotter said. "That's what I am. Without the Gift of Life and registries and donors, it wouldn't be. I'm just ecstatic."

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

New York Mets, Yoenis Cespedes