New York Mets manager Luis Rojas wasn’t ready to admit that Yoenis Cespedes was ready on all facets for Opening Day, but he’ll be in the fold when play starts back up on July 24.
“I believe he said he was going to be ready. This guy, he does it all,” Rojas said while speaking with reports via Zoom on Sunday. “He looks really well.”
This comes just one day after Cespedes revealed that he will be a go for Opening Day to add another big bat to the Mets’ ranks.
“I know for certain now that I will be ready [for Opening Day],” Cespedes said. “I’m very excited for the season to start in two weeks.”
At the very least, the 34-year-old will be the Mets’ go-to designated hitter in the new-look, 60-game MLB season that allows the DH in the National League for the first time ever.
“I feel like his bat is ready for Opening Day and with the way we saw him running, he’ll be ready,” Rojas said. “His baserunning is ahead of what I thought it would be, the defense is the part we’ll need to see more and more so we’ll re-asses and speak with the performance staff.”
A conservative approach that would see him play limited time in the field is likely to be the Mets’ best approach this season considering his bat is much more valuable than his defense.
Cespedes missed the entire 2019 season after hurting his ankles during an encounter with a wild boar on his ranch in Florida. It was just the latest injury issue that has seen the slugger play in just 119 games since the start of 2017.
A healthy bat from Cespedes is another considerable boost from a lineup that will already boast Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto, and Jeff McNeil. If he can recreate the numbers he did after coming over to the Mets at the 2015 trade deadline when he slashed .287/.337/.604 with 17 home runs and 44 RBI in exactly 60 games would be invaluable.
Elsewhere within the Mets roster, Rojas still was unable to provide an update on Robinson Cano and reliever Brad Brach, who have been absent from Citi Field workouts in recent days.
“They’re still not in camp and like we said, we’re just not going to reveal anything about guys who aren’t here,” he said. “The timeline is unknown.”
MLB protocols allow teams to not divulge if a player has tested positive for coronavirus should he not give the organization his consent to announce it. The Mets’ inability to give updates on both players creates the notion that their absences could be COVID-19-related.