New York Mets manager Luis Rojas wants to see more from slugger Yoenis Cespedes before putting him in the outfield during Major League Baseball’s 60-game regular season.
“There are some things we’ve yet to see in the outfield,” Rojas said. “We’re comfortable with what we’ve seen so far.”
The initial general consensus heading into the truncated 2020 season was that Cespedes would be the Mets’ go-to designated hitter after the National League was able to adopt the rule for just this year.
But the veteran left fielder has been getting looks at his natural position, including a three-inning stint on Sunday against the Yankees.
“I feel comfortable with how he looks off the bat moving, but I want to see more action, him making a play, communication,” Rojas said. “As far as the athleticism and what he’s shown there… he looks really good, like the outfield-Cespedes we all know. We just want to see some in-game plays and it will be really good if we get a couple of those.”
There certainly doesn’t seem to be any lingering concerns, however, that he won’t be available at all come Opening Day.
“Full strength? Right now, he’s as strong as you can probably count in the game,” Rojas said. “He’s doing a lot of things that we didn’t see him do before… He’s able to run at a good, competitive speed.”
Cespedes’ legs will be put under a microscope by the organization and its fans this year after years of injury woes and misfortunes.
Over the last two seasons, he’s played in a combined 119 games because of a multitude of injuries, including a broken ankle during a wild boar encounter at his ranch in Florida.
Jacob deGrom ready to go
According to Rojas, Mets ace, Jacob deGrom threw a side session on Tuesday that went well. All signs are pointing to him being ready to go for a second-consecutive Opening Day start on Friday evening against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field.
“It went really good,” Rojas said. “We’re hoping for him to be our Opening Day starter. Everything’s lining up for that.”
DeGrom underwent an MRI last week after being pulled from his intrasquad-game start early due to a stiff back. The results did not show anything concerning.
“I would say it’s totally in the past. The other day, it felt really good,” deGrom said. “Going on the mound today… and getting on the mound tomorrow, everything’s in line [for Opening Day].”
To get the ball on Opening Day, it’s something deGrom cherishes.
“It’s an honor, it’s awesome to be able to be out there for the first game,” deGrom said. “It’s something that means a lot and definitely something that I enjoy doing.”
As for taking the mound in an empty Citi Field, it’s not much of a concern, though he did say the cardboard cutouts of fans are “pretty good.”
“I think for me when somebody steps in the box, I want to get them out.”
As for the rest of the rotation behind deGrom, Rojas said the Mets will reveal that “in the next few days.”
Wilson Ramos returns
Starting catcher Wilson Ramos returned to camp at Citi Field after missing three days due to what was described by Rojas as a “personal matter.”
The Mets’ manager would not disclose anything else about Ramos’ absence, including when he would be available to the team. Speculation was further fueled when, in a corresponding move over the weekend, the Mets added veteran Rene Rivera to the 40-man roster for some backstop support beside Tomas Nido.