Robinson Cano’s latest steps toward a return were literal ones, from home plate to first base at the end of each pretend at-bat Tuesday at Citi Field, where he took live batting practice for the first time since suffering a torn left hamstring.
But his activation from the injured list is not imminent. Cano revealed that he was initially given a timetable of 6-12 weeks for a return to game action, and that was about three weeks ago. If he stays on that schedule, he is looking at a mid-September return at best.
“We’re hoping to be able to come back this year,” Cano said. “I’ve been feeling better every single day so we’re progressing pretty good.
“I mean, I’m not a doctor, but I’m always optimistic. I didn’t say I’m going to be done [for the year]. I’m going to work hard to get better and make my leg stronger and be able to come back and play this year.”
Cano facing live pitching — Mets minor-leaguers Kevin Smith and Jordan Humphreys — and running the bases a bit was progress. Manager Mickey Callaway said the hope is Cano will do more of the same Wednesday.
“We still have some steps to get over the hump,” Callaway said.
One aspect of his rehab that Cano is not worried about: an actual rehab assignment. The minor-league regular season ends this weekend, meaning soon there won’t be any affiliates for him to play with to get back into game shape.
Cano clearly isn't worried about it — and even smiled at the likelihood that he won’t have to go rough it in the minors.
“For me, it doesn’t matter,” Cano said. “If I can see live pitching, that’s good.”
Callaway added: “Obviously, he's getting live at-bats, so we're accomplishing that at this point in his rehab process. I think he's going to understand what he needs and what he doesn't need.”
As Cano’s teammates arrived in the home clubhouse Tuesday, they found gifts from the injured second baseman: Bird electric scooters.
Cano said they piqued his interest when some Mets rode them from the hotel to the ballpark in San Diego in May. He ordered the scooters — personalized with names, numbers and sometimes faces — in June because he wanted to “do something for the team.”
“I know my son is going to enjoy this one,” Todd Frazier said. “There will probably be some dents in there in about two weeks.”
Does Cano think his teammates will ride the scooters to the stadium, like they did in San Diego?
“I don’t want to say that, but at least from the parking lot to the locker room,” Cano said, laughing. “That would be great.”
Wilson Ramos (2-for-4 Tuesday against the Cubs) extended his hitting streak to 20, the longest active streak in the majors and the Mets’ longest since David Wright’s 20-gamer in 2007-08 . . . The Mets’ most updated public plan for Brandon Nimmo (bulging disc): nine innings with Triple-A Syracuse Tuesday, followed by five innings Wednesday, then re-evaluate . . . Callaway said the struggling Frazier (.187 in the second half) was in the lineup Tuesday over Juan Lagares because the Mets wanted to prioritize infield defense with Marcus Stroman on the mound . . . The Mets released infielder Ruben Tejada (designated for assignment Thursday) and sent outfielder Aaron Altherr (designated for assignment Saturday) outright to Syracuse.