Almost two months removed from his most recent major-league game, Yoenis Cespedes is learning a new position while rehabbing in Port St. Lucie: first base.
A source told Newsday that Cespedes and the Mets have discussed the leftfielder playing first. Cespedes has been working out there and will continue to do so while ramping up his baseball activity as he tries to come back from a strained right hip flexor.
If it becomes reality, Cespedes playing first on at least a part-time basis would be beneficial in at least two ways. It would lessen the strain on Cespedes’ oft-injured legs, and it would help solve an outfield log jam that has emerged with Brandon Nimmo earning everyday at-bats in Cespedes’ absence.
But it could also take playing time away from Wilmer Flores, Dominic Smith and potentially others. A permanent move there would block Smith and first-base prospect Peter Alonso, who has faced questions about his defensive viability at the major-league level.
Manager Mickey Callaway said Cespedes is still doing well in Florida, but hasn’t run the bases and needs more outfield work.
“There’s more baseball-specific skills that probably need to be done before he gets in an actual rehab game,” Callaway said. “But he is progressing toward those.”
Citi Field worker dies
A Citi Field vendor, Hussnain Shah, died at the ballpark Tuesday night after choking.
Said Aramark, the third-party food-service outfit at Citi Field, in a statement: “Words cannot describe how devastated all of us at Aramark, and especially our Aramark colleagues at Citi Field, are by the tragic loss of our co-worker and friend, Hussnain. Our prayers and thoughts are with his family and loved ones at this exceptionally difficult time.”
Asdrubal Cabrera was available as a pinch-hitter Wednesday night, a day after exiting early when he re-aggravated a hyperextended left elbow that he has managed for a couple of weeks . . . The Mets released righthander Marcos Molina to make room for Matt den Dekker on the 40-man roster. Molina, 23, had a 6.66 ERA in 14 starts with Double-A Binghamton this year . . . The Mets’ radio producer-engineer, Chris Majkowski, threw out the first pitch. On the job for 26 seasons, Majkowski has worked 4,011 consecutive games (including playoffs) since Aug. 8, 1993.— With David Lennon