Yoenis Cespedes made his second start since returning, but was pulled after five innings due to a sore heel
Here we go again. Yoenis Cespedes made a return that was controversial turned triumphant on Saturday. Fast forward two days later and Cespedes was lifted in the fifth inning of Monday’s game against the Cubs due to a sore heel.
Cespedes had three trips to the plate, all against starter, John Lackey. He singled in the first, grounded into a double play in the third, then lined out on a hanging breaking ball in the fifth. He didn’t have a chance in the field as the Mets turned three double plays before he was lifted from the game.
In the double play Cespedes grounded into, it was obvious he wasn’t close to geared up out of the box. What was a ray of hope was quickly replaced by doubt when Cespedes said he still wasn’t running at 100% upon his return. So now what?
I don’t want to sound like I’m in a panic, but we’ve seen this song and dance before. Cespedes said himself that while he was ready to play, he didn’t feel 100%. Keith Hernandez said during the broadcast of Monday’s game what we all felt: Cespedes was probably brought back too soon.
Leg injuries just like what Cespedes is dealing with can sometimes be very tricky. If a player comes back too soon then it eventually can mushroom into more time on the disabled list. Obviously, the best hope is that they’re being very careful with Cespedes and treating anything minor as a chance to get him out of a game, which sounds like the case here.
The offense was able to survive without Cespedes thanks to big contributions mainly from Lucas Duda, Jay Bruce, and Wilmer Flores. But having Cespedes back alleviates pressure on everyone else and allows Terry Collins the freedom to set up a lineup more conducive to success from top to bottom instead of having to mix and match parts. For example, Neil Walker can be a better hitter in the two hole but he had to bat in the middle of the order in Cespedes’ absence.
It sounds like this may be minor. The Mets absolutely cannot afford to botch this situation and potentially kill any momentum they looked to start gaining.