PHILADELPHIA — For the second straight game, Yoenis Cespedes took the field early to test his strained right quadriceps, only to come away unable to return to the starting lineup.
Manager Terry Collins said he doesn’t believe the Mets’ most dangerous hitter will require a stint on the disabled list, though he acknowledged that if Cespedes isn’t ready to play Sunday, the Mets might consider it.
“We’ve certainly got to take a look at it,” he said.
As long as Cespedes doesn’t appear in a game, the Mets can backdate a DL stint to July 9, the first game of an eight-day absence, including the All-Star break.
But for now, Collins remains optimistic that Cespedes is close. On Friday, Cespedes went through several tests on the field. He came through fine except for baserunning, which was the hurdle he faced Saturday night.
Said Collins: “I don’t think we’re going to have to disable him because of what I saw [Friday], what he’s been able to do.”
Noah Syndergaard threw a 20-pitch bullpen session Saturday and remains on track to start Tuesday.
The right move?
In a sample of 33 games this season heading into Saturday night, Juan Lagares has turned his fortunes against righthanded pitching. He has an .804 OPS against righties compared with .679 against lefties.
Though Collins expressed a willingness to play Lagares more against righties — even when Cespedes is ready to rejoin the lineup — he still sees those opportunities as limited. Lagares would face righties only in specific and favorable matchups. Against pitchers typically tough on righties, Lagares likely will come off the bench.
“The Max Scherzers of the world? That’s a bad matchup,” Collins said.
Curtis Granderson batted in the third spot for the second straight game, a necessity for the Mets with Cespedes down. But Collins expects to keep Granderson in the second spot, pairing him with leadoff man Jose Reyes.
Before action Saturday night, Granderson was hitting .375 with two homers and six RBIs in his previous 12 games.