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Mets’ Yoenis Cespedes trying new pregame routine in hopes of avoiding leg injuries

Yoenis Cespedes #52 of the New York Mets

Yoenis Cespedes #52 of the New York Mets hits a grand slam during the ninth inning against the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park on June 10, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. Credit: Getty Images / Daniel Shirey

ATLANTA — The Mets held true to what they say will be a conservative approach with Yoenis Cespedes. One day after returning from the disabled list, he was limited to pinch-hitting duty in Sunday’s 2-1 win over the Braves, though manager Terry Collins said he will start Monday and Tuesday.

In his first game in nearly six weeks, Cespedes hit a grand slam in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader sweep. He showed no ill effects from the hamstring and quadriceps injuries that kept him on the shelf, though he was tested only once while going back on a liner. On Sunday, Collins called upon Cespedes to pinch hit for Michael Conforto against lefthanded reliever Ian Krol with the bases loaded in the ninth, and he popped to third.

Though Cespedes has said he’s healthy enough to play, he’s not quite at full strength. Leg injuries have cropped up throughout his career, prompting the Mets to send him for tests to rule out any underlying causes. Nothing was found. Nevertheless, Cespedes came back with a pregame workout plan developed with Mike Barwis, who oversees the Mets’ strength and conditioning programs.

Cespedes said it’s the first time in his career that he’s attempted an extensive regimen focused on keeping his lower body from flaring up.

“It usually takes me about an hour to get through it,” he said through a translator. “So I think it’s what’s going to help me to stay healthy . . . They’re waist, back, leg exercises. I think that my elasticity will improve.”

Extra bases

Collins said he remains confident with Conforto facing lefties, even though he lifted him for Cespedes in the ninth against Krol. “This is the best I’ve ever seen him swing against lefthanders,” Collins said. Conforto has a .912 OPS against lefties this season . . . Minor-league lefthander Sean Gilmartin was claimed off waivers by the Cardinals shortly after he was designated for assignment by the Mets, who needed to make room on the 40-man roster when Seth Lugo was activated from the disabled list. Gilmartin allowed five runs in 3 1⁄3 innings in two relief appearances for the Mets and spent much of the season with Triple-A Las Vegas . . . The Mets hold the 20th overall pick in the Major League Baseball draft, which begins on Monday.


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