ATLANTA — Six weeks after a hamstring strain sent him to the disabled list, Yoenis Cespedes will rejoin the Mets. The outfielder will start one of the games in Saturday’s doubleheader against the Braves.
“He’s one of the best players in baseball,” manager Terry Collins said. “He’s hard to replace. We were very, very fortunate that the young man that replaced him has played so well.”
That outfielder is Michael Conforto, who began the day hitting .303 with 14 homers and 36 RBIs. He now will be part of a logjam along with Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson with Cespedes back.
Collins intends to meet with the outfielders Saturday and Granderson appears most likely to be the odd man out. Said Collins: “We’ll flip-flop and move guys around and try to get everybody some playing time.”
Cespedes has been on the disabled list since April 28 with a hamstring strain. He began his first rehab May 26 but suffered a quadriceps injury, a setback that cost him nearly two weeks. He resumed his rehab assignment Thursday, going 0-for-4 and playing the whole game in leftfield for Class A St. Lucie.
Neil Walker did not start for a second straight game with lingering swelling in his left knee. After the game, Collins said he did not use Walker as a pinch hitter so he can be backdated if he must go on the 10-day disabled list.
“The fact that it’s still bothering him after two days, yeah, there’s some concern there,” Collins said.
Walker was rested Wednesday ahead of the team’s day off Thursday.
“There’s a little swelling in there and it has not diminished as of today,” Collins said. “So he’ll get treatment on it and we’ll see where we are tomorrow.”