MIAMI — Yoenis Cespedes is still missing in action — or real ly inaction — and will not spend the weekend with the Mets as initially planned, the latest twist in an injury saga that is nearing the two-month mark.
Manager Mickey Callaway said that after Mets decision-makers mulled it further, they figured hanging out in Miami would not be best for Cespedes’ Port St. Lucie-based rehab of the mild strain in his right hip flexor.
“We thought it would probably hinder his ability and his rehab to come here for a couple of days,” Callaway said. “We’re going to keep him there in Port St. Lucie and continue what we’ve been doing . . . It would have been tough for him to get the rehab he needed here.”
That’s the reverse of the plan from Wednesday, when Callaway said, “We’re going to try to arrange that, where Ces, obviously close there in Port St. Lucie, try to get him there so we can get our eyes on him and have a chat with him.”
The flip meant Cespedes didn’t get to watch in person as the Mets lost to the Marlins, 8-2, on Friday night in the start of their weekend fight for last place in the NL East. Corey Oswalt, making his first major-league start after a family issue pushed Jacob deGrom to Saturday, allowed six runs in 2 2⁄3 innings. The Marlins’ Sandy Alcantara, also making his first major-league start, held the Mets to one run in five innings. The Mets (32-47) are one game ahead of the Marlins (33-50).
Cespedes has spent the past few weeks at the Mets’ minor-league facility, about a two-hour drive from Marlins Park.
What, exactly, does the rehab consist of? Not very much since he shut down his minor-league rehab assignment June 9 after experiencing quadriceps tightness. He is not doing baseball activities or even running.
“He’s getting treatment,” Callaway said. “They’re doing some stretching-type stuff, but more with a [physical therapy] guy than getting out and running and stuff like that.
“He’s feeling a lot better. There is some improvement. He’s not still in the clear as far as being able to get outside and run and things like that. He’s improving, but not far along so he can get out there and run.”
Cespedes hurt his hip May 5 and played through it until May 16, when the team put him on the disabled list with the purportedly mild strain. He has spoken publicly once since then. On June 8, when he was with Double-A Binghamton in Trenton, Cespedes said, “For the way the team is playing right now, even if I’m doing very well, if the team remains playing this way, I don’t think it’s going to help, but I’m eager to get back.”
Did Cespedes want to join the Mets this weekend? “We didn’t really give him the option after we talked,” Callaway said.
Will he be back before the All-Star break? “I can’t speculate on that. I think we’re going day-to-day with that,” Callaway said.
Since signing his four-year, $110-million contract with the Mets after the 2016 season, Cespedes has played in fewer than half of the Mets’ games (118 of 241 through Friday). After an offseason of trying to avoid these leg issues — lifting less, doing yoga, giving up golf — Cespedes is frustrated, Callaway said.
“I think all along he’s expressed frustration,” Callaway said. “He did everything he possibly could this winter to stay healthy and it didn’t happen for him. He’s definitely frustrated.”
The Mets share that sentiment. “I would say maybe frustrating. If I’m being honest, that’s probably it,’’ assistant GM John Ricco said Wednesday. “We’d like to have him here. It’s been tough because he’s a big part of our team. We’re trying to get him back healthy and get him back to being in the middle of our lineup.’’