Mets LF Yoenis Cespedes comes into the new season hoping that he can stay healthy after a tumultous season last year.
Plagued by injuries, Cespedes saw only 81 of the 162 games last season. The Mets rely on his power bat in the lineup, and just when they though he would stay on the field for a long stretch, he was back on the IR.
This offseason, he decided to shake up his normal training regimen, and focus on durability. Running more and even yoga has allowed him to become more flexible, which he hopes will result in staying loose all season.
"I did three things different. I ran. I did weight lifting, but not so heavy weight and also did yoga. So tried to be ready for this," Cespedes said through an interpreter.
Yoga has already been a big difference maker for Cespedes, who said he just went to his first class this year. He couldn't even get through the first session as he said the workouts are hard for someone that isn't flexible.
It is already paying dividends in Spring Training, though. Cespedes noted he came to camp in the past with lower back stiffness, but he doesn't feel it this time around, and thanks yoga for that.
"So with yoga my muscles are more flexible right now," he said. "When I used to work out with heavy weightlifting, I was strong but I wasn't flexible. Right now I'm more flexible because of the yoga.
"Yoga has been working for me. Last couple seasons, when I show up down here my lower back was very tight, so I haven't felt that yet. So yoga's been working for me."
Cespedes admitted he will be looking for somewhere to do yoga through the regular season once the team travels home to Queens.
Manager Mickey Callaway addressed his team about what he and the rest of the staff expects from each player this season on Monday. For Cespedes, himself, he always has short and long-term goal. But an MVP award is always No. 1.
"I have goals for long term and short term, but it's the same. I want to be an MVP. That hasn't changed. Last season I was unlucky because I got hurt. But this is my main goal, to be an MVP."
Michelle Ioannou, MetsBlog | Twitter |
You just can't help but smile when you hear this, right? It brings a smile to my face for a couple of reasons. Yes, of course because the thought of Yoenis Cespedes in tree pose or downward facing dog is a long way off from the image of Cespedes we usually have. But also because it shows that he is trying to be more proactive about his health.
We need Cespedes' bat in our lineup. We can't afford for him to be injured, but it's something we've had to deal with more than we wanted to these past couple of seasons. It's no secret that his hamstrings have been an issue. By taking up yoga, it shows that Cespedes is acknowledging this issue, and is trying to find ways to rectify it. He's not just rehabbing, getting better, and playing with the hope that his hamstrings don't act up again, he's trying to improve his flexibility and keeping everything loose to rid any problems before they even begin.
I was very happy to hear about this change, but also, I couldn't help but think of how far we've come since the "Cespedes doesn't like drinking water" story. Hopefully, 2018 will be a season of far less cramps and strains for Yo. **knocks on wood**