Yoenis Cespedes is still a long way from a return to the Mets, but he has been making progress -- and was at Citi Field on Monday throwing in the outfield.
While there still isn't a firm target date for Cespedes' return, manager Mickey Callaway gave a progress update on Tuesday before the Mets' game against the Reds.
According to Callaway, Cespedes is hitting off a tee, playing catch, and riding the stationary bike, but has not yet started running.
The running will be the biggest step for Cespedes, who was hobbled last season before undergoing dual heel surgery that he hopes will help alleviate the lower-body issues that have plagued him over the last few seasons.
The surgery was always expected to keep Cespedes out for at least the first half of th e 2019 season, and Cespedes said during Spring Training that he feels like he will make it back at some point this season.
"At this moment, I do feel like I will return," Cespedes said. "It may be three months (before the season ends), it may be two months, it may be one month."
Cespedes noted in February that he felt like he was around 50 percent of the way back.
"When I used to wake up, I would struggle walking," he explained. "At this stage in the rehab, I can walk without any pain."
After playing 159 games in 2015 (including 57 with the Mets) and 132 games in 2016, Cespedes has been severely limited by injuries the last two seasons, playing just 81 games in 2017 and 38 games in 2018.
When he's on the field, though, Cespedes is still a threat. He hit .292/.352/.540 in 2017 and .262/.325/.496 in 2018 -- a season where he was playing through severe pain whenever he was in the lineup.
Cespedes is earning $29 million this season and $29.5 million in 2020, after which he is eligible for free agency. While Cespedes remains out, the Mets -- through an insurance policy they have on Cespedes -- will be recouping a percentage of the money owed to him.
"When Cespedes gets back and we put this lineup together, it's gonna be really really special," Callaway said on Tuesday.