Cuban Yoenis Cespedes returned to the Mets lineup with a grand slam in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Braves at SunTrust Park.
Cespedes was third in the lineup and hit 5-2 with a home run and four RBIs. His presence made the difference behind a good performance from right-hand opener Rober Gsellman.
“For any player is easy to lose all that time and maintain a good timing,” Céspedes said. “In my case, I’ve been playing for the last seven years and I just try to stay calm and give it good pitches.”
Céspedes’s home run extended the New York streak to 13 games with at least one homer on the road. Also it was the fifth grand slam in the race of the slugger and the second of the club this campaign. The Mets foreman, Terry Collins, was not worried about the possible rust of the Cuban and was happy to re-count his bat.
“He’s a special boy and that’s why it was not the at-bats, because he spent enough on his rehabilitation assignment,” Collins said. “Although they were not simulated games, he saw a lot of shots.”
Cespedes looked good patrolling the grasslands in his first game after a pull on the left hams that kept him on the disabled list for six weeks. He lined several elevations and ran the bases well. However, it still has some limitations that have forced the Mets to remain cautious.
The gunman will continue to watch action, but with some days off to help ease the wear and tear of playing consecutive matches.
“I feel good, but I do not think I can run at 100 percent right now,” the ranger said. “I know they have a plan for me, but no one knows my body better than I. If they want to give me rest, I think it will be based on how I feel and how my body reacts.”
The Mets will have a stretch of 18 games without a day off in the schedule. That’s why Céspedes could step in slowly by dividing play time in the gardens with Curtis Granderson, Michael Comfort and Jay Bruce.