Yoenis Cespedes returns to hitting after setback

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Yoenis Cespedes hit down in Port St. Lucie on Tuesday for the first time since he experienced soreness in his right quad Friday night.

“He’s making strides,” Terry Collins said before the Mets hosted the Brewers on Tuesday. “I have no idea what the next step’s gonna be. I don’t know how he came out of today. I called down there; he was actually hitting at the time when I called. So we’re getting close.”

Cespedes has been on the disabled list for about a month with a strained left hamstring. General manager Sandy Alderson said Monday that he hoped Cespedes could return to the big leagues in 7-10 days. The Mets are off Monday and play a two-game series at Texas, where they can use a designated hitter, before another off day next Thursday ahead of a weekend series in Atlanta.


After experiencing a setback during his rehab, Yoenis Cespedes returned to hitting on Tuesday.

(Lynne Sladky/AP)

Collins says he’s not anxious about Cespedes while the slugger isn’t around.

“I learned a long time ago that you can’t worry about stuff out of your control, and I can’t control the healing process of any player,” Collins said. “If I use all of my energies to worry about or concern myself about the guys who aren’t here, the guys who are here are gonna see that. So I focus more on worrying about getting these guys ready, making sure they understand just because Yoenis isn’t here, doesn’t mean we can’t win. Whoever’s replacing him, hey look, you’ve got to step up and here’s your opportunity. And has anybody done that better than Michael Conforto? Nobody.”

Michael Conforto has been a big reason why the Mets' lineup has thrived in Yoenis Cespedes' absence.

Michael Conforto has been a big reason why the Mets’ lineup has thrived in Yoenis Cespedes’ absence.

(Al Bello/Getty Images)

“Every manager in this game wants Mike Trout and (Bryce) Harper and all the great players, but all you can do is concern yourself with the guys you do have,” Collins added. “And that’s the guys right now in that locker room.”

Still, it’s hard for Collins not to think about what his lineup will look like when Cespedes does return.

“I went into spring training and I thought we had a good team,” Collins said. “I thought we had a good offensive team. Yoenis made us an exceptional offensive team. I still think we’re a good offensive team and we’re showing that, but you put him in the middle of that lineup and we have a chance to be special, especially now that everybody’s starting to hit.”

Mets bail out Asdrubal Cabrera with 5-4 win over Brewers in 12


The hot-hitting Wilmer Flores was out of the lineup Tuesday, but Collins said the plan is for Flores to play both tonight and Thursday, with Jose Reyes and Asdrubal Cabrera each set to get one day off over the rest of this series against Milwaukee.

“He knows he kills lefthanders, but in order for him to get more playing time and more opportunities, he’s got to hit righties,” Collins said of Flores, who entered Tuesday hitting .431 since May 8. “Therefore, he’s gone back and did what he did a few years ago and that’s use the field.”

Flores was hitting .278 vs. righties in 72 at-bats and .417 vs. lefties in 24 at-bats this season entering Tuesday.

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