After delivering the winning hit in Sunday's 5-4 win over the Red Sox, Mets outfielder Michael Cuddyer said the knee injury that sent him to the disabled list might have impacted his performance.
Well, sort of.
"Definitely, it was a factor, but it wasn't the reason I was struggling or whatever the case was," Cuddyer said after going 3-for-3 with a walk. "And it's not the reason why I've gotten some hits the last couple of days. But it's part of it, there's no question about that. It feels good. I'm able to plant on it. It's stronger."
Perhaps that alone should be reason for the Mets to feel encouraged about Cuddyer, who has rebounded somewhat after stumbling out of the gates after signing his two-year, $21-million deal during the offseason.
Cuddyer is hitting .375 (18-for-48) since coming off the DL and has proved to be a productive piece for manager Terry Collins, who has the luxury of mixing and matching lineups now that he has a deep roster.
Though his role has been diminished, Cuddyer provides a strong presence against lefthanded pitching and off the bench. Defensively, he has played both corner outfield spots and first base, helping to fill the void left by the injured Lucas Duda.
"As we head down in the last month, he's going to be really important," Collins said of Cuddyer.
Collins said the 36-year-old Cuddyer dealt with some fatigue on Sunday, even expressing some relief when he was moved from leftfield to first base after Yoenis Cespedes entered the game as a defensive replacement.
Still, Cuddyer didn't look gassed. He earned raves for a hard-nosed takeout slide to break up a double play in the fourth inning. In the sixth, his hustle allowed him to score from first base on Juan Uribe's double, further erasing any hints of fatigue.
"You don't even know it the way he goes about things," Collins said.
The Mets earned their 32nd comeback victory of the season and won for the 19th time in August -- the most for the month since their last playoff season in 2006.
The Mets also ended a season-high five-game losing streak at Citi Field, where they improved to 43-23.
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