The New York Mets finally gave in to common sense this afternoon, placing outfielder Yoenis Cespedes on the 10 day disabled list. Since the Mets resisted using Cespedes as a pinch hitter in last night’s 12-2 rout of the Toronto Blue Jays, the move can be back dated to Monday, leaving Cespedes eligible to return from the DL next Thursday. Cespedes originally injured himself back on May 6th, when he had to leave in the first inning of a 3-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies with what was then termed a hip issue. An MRI has called it a hip flexor, while Cespedes himself has called it a quad or groin injury on different occasions.
It is frankly about time the Mets made Cespedes go on the disabled list. This is a similar song and dance to what has happened with Cespedes for the past few years, when he pulls a leg muscle right in the middle of a Mets’ skid. The Mets tried to nurse Cespedes through the injuries for the past two years, only for him to injure himself worse and miss more significant time than necessary. It looked like the team was heading down a similar path this season, and Cespedes wanted to play to help the team bust out of its offensive funk. Cespedes was starting to heat up at the plate as well, hitting .324 this month with three doubles, two homers, and three RBI’s, so this made the choice even more agonizing for the Mets.
Even though they took much longer than necessary to place Cespedes on the disabled list, the positive is that they at least got him there before things got worse. With the off day tomorrow, Cespedes will miss the rest of the home stand if he misses the minimum time. That would allow the Mets to have Cespedes back in the lineup for the final 12 games of a brutal stretch of schedule, which they will play without a day off until June 4th (barring rainouts, which the Mets have had plenty of to date). The weather forecast for this week was also brutal for a player with bad legs, featuring a chance of rain every day through next Monday. The last thing the Mets could afford was for Cespedes to slip on a wet field and tear the groin, sidelining him for six weeks instead of two.
Even if Cespedes misses the minimum time frame, there is no guarantee that he will be fully injury free for the rest of the season. Cespedes is a player with a history of leg injuries, and that doesn’t simply go away through one offseason with a new training regimen. The Mets probably would have stuck Cespedes on the DL right away if they weren’t struggling to win games, but the important thing is that they finally stopped prolonging the inevitable and made the smart decision. There have been more smart choices on the injury front this year, and hopefully that will pay dividends in the future.