Yoenis Cespedes played an inning in left field and took swings against the Mets’ best pitcher, but like the rest of his teammates wasn’t permitted to run the bases Sunday.
All is part of the progression for the veteran outfielder, according to manager Luis Rojas, as the Mets attempt to get Cespedes ready for the season opener on July 24.
Cespedes, facing Jacob deGrom in a simulated game, delivered what would have been a single to right field if he were allowed to run the bases. But Rojas beforehand had instructed players not to run.
Cespedes is attempting to return from separate heel surgeries and multiple right ankle fractures sustained in an accident on his ranch involving a wild boar.
“It was a good day today [for Cespedes],” Rojas said. “I want us to keep building off of this and our communication with the performance staff will dictate that. It was a positive day to get him out there with the rest of the guys, it’s been a while since he’s been in left field here at Citi Field.”
Amed Rosario and Marcus Stroman appeared in team workouts for the first time. Rosario was the only member of the starting lineup who didn’t participate in the morning simulated game — he was replaced at shortstop by Andres Gimenez — but he worked out with another group later in the day.
Tyler Bashlor retired all five batters he faced in the morning simulated game. Team officials have tried to get the right-hander to employ his curveball and changeup to keep hitters from sitting on his fastball.
“This is a guy that has special stuff,” Rojas said. “I am glad that today he showed he’s expanding his repertoire and he’s getting to that point where we want him to see that he cannot only pump fastballs in there, but he’s got some more weapons to get the batters thinking and off balance.”
The right-hander, who pitched to a 6.95 ERA in 24 appearances last season with the Mets, is competing for a spot in the bullpen.