Downplaying the idea that there is a communication disconnect between Yoenis Cespedes and the Mets, assistant general manager John Ricco said Sunday that the organization didn’t realize Cespedes was considering significant surgery on his heels until he mentioned it to reporters Friday night.
Cespedes is scheduled to meet with a foot specialist and have an MRI on Monday. The Mets are hopeful that will provide clarity regarding the calcification of his heels and the best way to remedy the issue, but are hoping to avoid surgery, which Ricco called a last resort and “fairly radical.”
Ricco suggested that Cespedes’ revelation of the possible surgery stemmed from the frustration of recurring pain after a long rehab process (amid a couple of injury-plagued years).
“Whether [surgery] was his final decision or not, he said it, and we have to take that seriously,” Ricco said, speaking to reporters immediately after meeting with Cespedes and manager Mickey Callaway. “We’ll have him see our doctors, they’ll sit down and talk about it, see where he is, and a decision will be made.
“I don’t think it’s a disconnect. It’s not like he’s been saying this for months and we just haven’t been listening. For the first time, to our knowledge, he even was considering the surgery was when he said that on Friday.”
Cespedes most recently saw a doctor for his heel problems in late June, Ricco said. The prescribed treatment was more of the same conservative methods — orthotics, stretching, anti-inflammatories — that Cespedes has used in recent years to manage the symptoms.
When the pain subsided enough, Cespedes finished his rehabilitation of a strained right hip flexor and played his first major-league game in more than two months Friday. It was his fourth game of the week, counting a simulated game and two minor-league games in Port St. Lucie, Florida. The Mets thought he and his feet were healthy enough to play regularly again.
In his return, Cespedes went 2-for-4 with a homer and a walk, but after running out a ground ball he started feeling his heels barking again. He sat out Saturday, then felt good enough Sunday to volunteer to DH. The Mets did not take him up on his offer.
“We felt it was probably not very wise at this point,” Callaway said.
Cespedes said surgery would require a rehab process of eight to 10 months. Ricco said the Mets hadn’t looked into surgery enough to know if that was accurate.
“We haven’t really gone down the road on that,’’ Ricco said. “The surgery really hadn’t been a consideration to this point, until he really brought it up the other night, that he said, ‘You know what, I’m thinking about it, it’s that bad.’ ”
Cespedes said his heels are the root cause of his many other leg problems in recent years. Ricco said it wasn’t clear if that is the case.
“Does one cause the other?” Ricco said. “I’m not a medical expert to know which and when caused each.”
Cespedes’ heel pain, which he has dealt with for 15 years, leaves him with good days and bad days, Ricco said. If the bad days are bad enough and frequent enough, surgery becomes more likely.
“It depends on definition of bad days and how frequent those bad days occur,” Ricco said. “He’s had this condition for years — he’s played. So that’s part of the decision we have to make, along with the medical advice, as to is it worth shutting him down for that length of time because the bad days are too frequent and too painful for him to continue.”