After the firestorm brought by Yoenis Cespedes’ comments Friday to the San Francisco Chronicle about Bob Melvin being his favorite manager and wanting to finish his career where it started in Oakland, Cespedes said after Friday’s game his remarks don’t take away from his relationship with Terry Collins, and that he’s have no problem talking to Collins about what he said if needed.
But a pow wow won’t be necessary, according to Collins.
“No, he doesn’t have to (talk to me about his comments,)” Collins said Saturday. “I know where he stands. We’ve talked a lot, as you guys can imagine. We’ve had a lot of conversations.”
Collins has no issue with Cespedes saying Melvin is the best manager he’s played for despite currently playing for Collins.
“That’s great. It doesn’t bother me a bit,” Collins said. “I just want him to keep hitting and keep hitting home runs. I think he’s one of the best players, if not one of the top-five players in the game of baseball. My respect for him is never gonna change, and we’re gonna move forward.”
Entering Saturday, Cespedes had gone 18 games without a home run, and he was hitting .197 with three RBI over those first 17 games before a 3-for-4 effort in Friday’s win.
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Asdrubal Cabrera was set for his first career start at third base on Saturday, a move that had been expected with Neil Walker on the mend. Cabrera had played only 1 1/3 innings at first base in his MLB career, and that came in his MLB debut on Aug. 8, 2007.
Cabrera only took grounders at third base once, but Collins has no concerns about the infielder’s ability to play the position. “He’s got great hands, a great arm, he’ll be fine,” Collins said.
When Walker (left hamstring tear) does return, Collins envisions Cabrera playing third and shifting around when needed, playing shortstop and second when Jose Reyes and Walker are given days off. Reyes will remain the primary shortstop, Cabrera’s longtime position until the Mets moved him to second in San Francisco last month.
Collins’ plan, of course, assumes Cabrera will still be a Met beyond the July 31 trade deadline. He could be moved in an effort to create room for top prospect Amed Rosario, the shortstop who could potentially be called up after the deadline.
Cabrera had played 1,773 2/3 innings at second base earlier in his career before making the move last month so there was familiarity there. The shift to third is a bigger change, but as Collins mentioned earlier in the week, it could help Cabrera long-term. It improves the 31-year-old’s versatility and makes him an option at third, where there is a bigger market than second.
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Brandon Nimmo (partially collapsed lung) said he will begin a rehab assignment Sunday with Triple-A Las Vegas in Memphis, where Walker was set to begin his own rehab assignment on Saturday.