Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Cespedes Clearly Cautious in Mets' Victory

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Cespedes Clearly Cautious in Mets' Victory

Article excerpt

NEW YORK - The first hit Jacob deGrom allowed in the 7-3 win over the Cardinals on Wednesday dropped a few feet in front of left fielder Yoenis Cespedes in the third inning.

Cespedes did not make a spirited effort to make a catch, instead letting it dunk in front of him. Cespedes has made similar efforts throughout the season where he's opted to play it safe, but the outfielder insisted he's willing to dive for balls.

"If the chances come up again where I have to dive, I'll dive," Cespedes said through a translator. "And if I get hurt, I get hurt, that's what happens."

As the Mets hope Cespedes will get on track offensively after a 2-for-4 night with two RBI in the victory, the outfielder has noticeably become less aggressive in the outfield in the aftermath of the strained hamstring that sidelined him for 37 games.

Cespedes can still dial it up while running as he showed in his second-inning RBI double, but that hustle also led to him losing his breath and being briefly attended to.

His two-RBI night backed Jacob deGrom (11-3), who has won seven straight starts.

"He knows what he can catch and what he can't. I know he's trying to make sure nothing happens and he stays on the field," Mets manager Terry Collins said after his team ended a three-game losing skid. "Some of those balls he says, 'I'm not going to get to them.' It looks like he doesn't go after them hard but he's got a pretty good feel for it."

Cespedes, who dyed his hair blue Wednesday, is in the first year of a four-year, $110-million deal. The outfielder hasn't enjoyed his usual success, hitting .277 with nine homers and 22 RBI, and has not homered in 70 at-bats.

He has again dealt with lower-half injuries, and those injuries have affected his mobility in the outfield. Cespedes won a Gold Glove two years ago, but is much more conservative now in choosing what balls he aggressively pursues. …

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