Yoenis Cespedes struck out three times in the Mets 2-1 victory over the Marlins Wednesday but still managed to become a big part of the game. The team’s $27.5 million outfielder is noticed for what he does and does not do. So, on a day when he got a F for results in the batter’s box, he achieved an A for effort in the field.
In the top of the eighth inning, Marlins leadoff batter Ichiro Suzuki sent a fly ball to left that was headed for foul territory. Cespedes, running full-bore, leapt over the short wall separating the warning track from the stands and tried to glove the ball. It went beyond his reach and he hit his right knee as he landed against a seat. Mets trainers attended to him for a few minutes and he finally emerged from the collection of fans around him to cheers.
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“It’s an athletic play first off,’’ Wright said of Cespedes’ attempt. “But I think he banged into a chair so I think all is well. I think you could just tell with the intensity of the game that this is one we wanted to win.’’
Cespedes said through a translator, “I tried to jump to get the ball, give the max effort for the team to see of we can get a win. Both my legs bother me a little bit but for the most part I should be OK and it shouldn’t take me out from (any) of the games.’’
In the bottom of the eighth, Cespedes was hit by a pitch. He glared at reliever Bryan Morris before jogging to first base.
Terry Collins was glad Cespedes wasn’t injured — now he’d like to see him hit more. Cespedes is at .233 with one home run and three runs batted in. He has struck out a team-leading 11 times in 30 at-bats.
A reporter asked Collins if Cespedes is feeling pressure to carry the team, which has a collective .194 average. “I don’t know if he is,’’ Collins said, “but I think what you just said, there’s no question he’s aware of the expectations of him on this team. You look at the other clubs when he was in Detroit they had [Miguel Cabrera]. He [Cespedes] was just another one of the pieces. On our team he’s huge. So, he might, he might feel a little extra pressure to produce. But I’ll tell you he’s been great as far as anytime I’ve asked him to switch positions or do something, he’s done it. I think as we get into this thing he’s still going to put up some big numbers. But we’ve got to give him some help. I’ve said it forever in my years in the game, you can’t ride one guy. You got to ride the whole team and we’ve got to get these other guys going.’’
Wright said of Cespedes, “You always feel pressure to perform. When you sign obviously a nice contract, you know, you’re the same player that you were last year or the year before that. You know, the expectations, I think start rising but as a player you got to try to remember ‘hey this is why I got this contract this is why I am this player.’ And just kind of stick to your game. Yoenis will be just fine.’’
Cespedes, asked about his meager production, simply said, “Only eight games into the season.’’