Kathy Willens/Associated Press
The New York Mets are playing without All-Star outfielder Yoenis Cespedes because he was forced to leave Thursday’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies with a left leg injury.
Per Steve Gelbs of SportsNet New York, Cespedes was removed after pulling up running between first and second base and then “limped off the field and down into the tunnel.”
Michael Baron of MLB.com noted he thought he “saw Cespedes grab the back of his left leg in the middle of first and second.” Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal noted the Mets are saying Cespedes has a cramp in his left hamstring.
Cespedes was one of the few unqualified bright spots in the Mets lineup last season. He led the team in home runs, RBI, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
The Mets rewarded Cespedes’ performance with a four-year contract extension that includes a full no-trade clause. He was off to a hot start in 2017 with a .255/.364/.636 slash line and six home runs in 15 games prior to Thursday.
Michael Conforto has tremendous upside as a hitter, but Mets manager Terry Collins didn’t seem comfortable giving him consistent playing time last year. David Wright can’t be counted on at this stage of his career, playing in just 75 games total the previous two years; he was just placed on the 60-day disabled list.
The Mets are going to be carried by their starting pitching in 2017, but Cespedes has to be the engine steering the lineup if they want to score enough runs to maximize the bevy of talented arms they have.