Yoenis Cespedes joked that he wore a bright yellow sleeve on his left arm Wednesday night to match the parakeet that flew in and, briefly, stole the show at Citi Field. Doing so, he hoped, would bring him good luck.
"I knew there was a bird on the field," he said, smiling, through a translator, "and I just wanted to look like the bird."
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It was easy for Cespedes to laugh after the Mets' 3-0 win over Colorado. After all, he punctuated the victory with his first home run as a Met, an eighth-inning solo shot that snapped an 0-for-11 slump.
"I feel happy to get that off my chest, off my back, to get the first one out of the way," he said. "It makes me feel better that I'm helping the team win."
It's not that Cespedes hasn't hit, because he went 11-for-34 (.324) in his first eight games after the Mets' July 31 trade with Detroit.
It's not that Cespedes' slump hurt the Mets, because they beat the Rockies Monday (he went 0-for-4) and Tuesday (0-for-4) and were in position to win as he began Wednesday 0-for-3.
But Cespedes said he felt "a little lost" at the plate lately. The home run -- a jolt that left his bat at 107 mph, according to MLB.com, and cleared the fence in right-center -- was a sign that might no longer be the case.
The fact that the righthanded Cespedes drove a low-and-away 79 mph curveball just after an 88 mph fastball came in just below his chin impressed Mets manager Terry Collins.
"It kind of tells you that he's not too intimidated by anything," Collins said. "He gets his hat knocked off, and then the next pitch he hits a homer to right-center field. That explains the kind of guy he is."
Collins said he is not concerned about Cespedes' lack of power thus far, though the outfielder's three doubles as a Met came on the same day (Aug. 3 at Miami) and he had not added to his season total of 18 home runs through 10 games.
"Everybody I've talked to about him said you got some real kind of good player on your hands," Collins said. "He's going to get it going, and he's going to carry us a lot of nights."
Cespedes understands the expectations of his manager and the fan base.
"It's my responsibility to come here and produce and hit," he said, "but I don't think I'm going to put extra pressure. I'm going to go out there and try to do the best I can to hit and produce and help the team win."