After all the moves made this offseason, the Mets are positioned to be much better than their 77-85 record last season. Unfortunately, OF Yoenies Cespedes won't be able to help that cause initially.
Cespedes has been in Port St. Lucie, but he hasn't been on the same workout plan as the rest of his teammates. The veteran continues his rehab regimen following double heel surgery, and the Mets are being very cautious with his progress as they don't want to rush him back.
"We want to make sure that he's 100 percent healthy when he comes back," Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen said last week, "whenever that day is."
But, make no mistake: Cespedes is confident he'll be coming back at some point this season.
"At this moment, I do feel like I will return," Cespedes told the media through a translator. "It may be three months, it may be two months, it may be one month."
Right now, though, Cespedes admitted he is frustrated he can't participate in normal workouts because he realizes the potential this team has, which makes it hard to watch from the sidelines.
"It's been frustrating for me so far because I love baseball and I've been out of the game a few months now," Cespedes told reporters through a translator. "I've been bored."
Both Cespedes and manager Mickey Callaway acknowledged after practice Friday that there still is no definitive timeline regarding the outfielder's return. But Cespedes is confident he will come back 100 percent healthy like Van Wagenen said -- some day.
As of now, Cespedes said he feels around 50 percent, which is definitely progress given how his rehab began.
"When I used to wake up, I would struggle walking," he explained. "At this stage in the rehab, I can walk without any pain."
Callaway can tell Cespedes is "itching to get out there," but in the meantime, he is happy about the depth the Mets now have to make up for him missing a few months. The second-year skipper was able to see Jeff McNeil shag from live fly balls, and said he displayed "great instincts" out there. He also made sure to mention players like Rajai Davis, Gregor Blanco, and Keon Broxton who will all have a chance to showcase their talent this spring, too.
So what is Cespedes' next step in his rehab process? He said he will begin throwing next week, but doesn't know when he can run or pick up a bat just yet.
It's frustrating, yes, but necessary for Cespedes to continue taking the process day-by-day if he wishes to rejoin the Mets for good. And if the Mets' season pans out the way Van Wagenen has been preaching all offseason, he can't wait for that day he can suit up again.
"What I can say is we have a great team and god-willing when I get back, I'll do the best I can," he said.