Posted on August 4, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
The New York Mets have gone to great lengths over the past month to keep Yoenis Cespedes on the active roster and in the lineup despite a nagging quad injury. After sitting for three straight games, he returned to the starting lineup Wednesday night, as the Mets began a stretch of five straight games in which they could use Cespedes as the designated hitter, hoping he could play while continuing to rest his quad. However, after Cespedes re-injured the quad yet again during their loss to the crosstown Yankees, the Mets have finally placed their best hitter on the DL.
“The last at-bat, the second swing, I felt it,” Cespedes said through an interpreter after Wednesday’s game. “It’s been frustrating, because I’ve lost my timing. I’ve lost games. And I haven’t been able to contribute to the ball club.” Cespedes originally injured the quad on July 8, forcing him to miss the three games leading up to the all-star break and begin the second half of the season with lingering concerns about his health. The Mets have recalled rookie outfielder Brandon Nimmo to replace him on the roster.
Cespedes says when he first hurt the quad, the thought of going on the DL never crossed his mind. But that has obviously changed. “I think the best option is just rest, about 10 days or so, because if I continue playing hurt, I’m never going to recover,” he said Wednesday night.
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Had the Mets put Cespedes on the DL after the original injury right before the all-star break, he would have been eligible to return after missing only 10 games. Now he will miss at least 14 games, assuming he’s healthy enough to return after his 15-day stint on the DL is up.
The loss of Cespedes comes two days after the Mets acquired right fielder Jay Bruce right before the non-waiver trade deadline. Despite Bruce going hitless in his first two games with the Mets, he will provide a power bat in the middle of the lineup to help makeup for the absence of Cespedes. Of course, the Mets were hoping to have both players in the middle of their lineup to help get their offense going and stay in contention for a playoff spot.
With Cespedes going to the DL, the Mets are also left with only left-handed hitters in their outfield, as Juan Lagares is also on the DL, as is Justin Ruggiano, who played just three games with Mets before landing on the DL. With Bruce now taking up residence in right field, the Mets will likely use Curtis Granderson and Alejandro de Aza in center field, with Granderson and Michael Conforto being the top options in left field.
Losing Cespedes for at least two weeks figures to do serious damage to the Mets playoff hopes. They have fallen 8.5 games behind the Washington Nationals in the NL East, leaving the wild card as their best option for reaching the postseason. The Mets are currently two games out of the second wild card spot, which is currently owned by the St. Louis Cardinals. The loss of Cespedes will make it that much harder for the Mets to remain within striking distance of the wild card, especially considering Cespedes is the 5th player the Mets have placed on the DL in the past week.