Cespedes’ rehab assignment cut short after setback
Sidelined for nearly a month by a nagging hip injury, Cespedes had his minor league rehabilitation assignment cut short Sunday following a setback.
On the disabled list since May 14 because of a strained right hip flexor, the oft-injured slugger hit two doubles Saturday in his second rehab game for Double-A Binghamton but was removed early with tightness in his right quadriceps.
''Same thing,'' manager Mickey Callaway said. ''It's where the quad attaches to the hip.''
A few hours after Callaway spoke, things only got worse when Cabrera exited Sunday night's game against the New York Yankees with a tight left hamstring.
The switch-hitting second baseman stumbled awkwardly out of the batter's box and grabbed the back of his left leg when he bounced back to the mound to begin the bottom of the first inning.
Cabrera, who leads the team with 11 homers and 36 RBIs, jogged slowly to first after a third-inning groundout and was replaced at second base in the top of the fourth by Jose Reyes.
Cespedes is headed to the team's complex in Florida to try again to get healthy. The Mets had hoped the left fielder would be back Tuesday night in Atlanta, but now there is no timetable for his return.
''Same stuff he's been battling. It's not a total setback to Day One, but still not feeling the way he would like it to feel to come up here and contribute,'' Callaway said.
Callaway said Cespedes' first hit Saturday was a stand-up double, but on the second one the slugger had to run a little harder to make sure he made it to second and that's when he felt discomfort again.
''He feels like he's not quite ready, so we're going to send him to Florida to kind of start that day-to-day process of getting him where he needs to be,'' Callaway said.
Slumping badly at the plate, the plummeting Mets had lost eight straight games and 15 of 18 going into their Subway Series finale against the Yankees. They're desperate to get Cespedes back in the middle of a foundering lineup.
''We were excited about the prospect of getting him back in a few days, but like we said before, we can't let these injuries stop us from doing what we need to do,'' Callaway said. ''We have other major league players that can step up and get the job done, and that's what we need to do.''
Cespedes, a two-time All-Star, is batting .255 with eight homers and 28 RBIs this season. He was limited to 81 games last year by leg injuries and has had trouble staying on the field for the Mets since signing a $110 million, four-year contract in November 2016.
''I think that when he initially went on the disabled list, it was to knock this completely out so he can come back and be the healthy player he wants to be. I think as this continues to move forward and if it continues to drag on that there has to be a level of understanding of things you're talking about - like, it may be something that you battle throughout the rest of your career,'' Callaway said. ''But I don't think we're at that place yet. So I think that the goal is still to get him to where he can go out there and feel normal.''
General manager Sandy Alderson has called Cespedes' condition ''somewhat chronic,'' and already there has been talk about the outfielder moving to first base at some point to preserve his legs.
''I think first and foremost we're trying to get a healthy left fielder back and then maybe we can consider other options after that,'' Callaway said.
In other injury-related news, Callaway said closer Jeurys Familia (sore shoulder) and infielder Wilmer Flores (sore lower back) are both headed to Florida and the team is ''very optimistic'' they will be activated off the DL during the upcoming road trip.
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