Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is confident in himself heading into 2020 after missing most of the last two seasons due to various lower body injuries. But there is still no timeline for his return to game action.
"We haven't gotten there yet," Mets manager Luis Rojas said Tuesday during what was his first presser of spring training. "We don't have a timeline. So Ces, he's running, he's hitting. I've had conversations with him, but we don't have the timeline yet. The performance staff is working on his progression. We're going from there."
Cespedes, whose contract was reworked during the offseason -- with the guaranteed money lowered substantially due to the ankle injury he suffered last season on his ranch during an incident with a wild boar -- has been hitting in the cage and running on the field since at least January.
But Cespedes' potential status for Opening Day isn't yet clear.
"We don't know," Rojas said when asked specifically about Cespedes' availability for Opening Day, which is on March 26 at Citi Field. "There's no timeline yet. Once I get it I will happily share it with you guys."
The idea of Cespedes returning in 2020 has gone from fantasy to close to reality, but it's still unknown how Cespedes' body will react once he's asked to run and cut in the outfield for nine innings at a time.
If Cespedes is able to play the outfield at anything resembling a consistent basis, it will be a good problem for the Mets to have. As things currently stand, the expectation is for J.D. Davis, Brandon Nimmo, and Michael Conforto to start in the outfield most days from left to right.
Additionally, Cespedes being able to back up at first base could give the Mets more options there and give them a potential thumper as a fill-in in the nightmare scenario where Pete Alonso suffers an injury. Other backup first base options include Dominic Smith and Matt Adams, who is in camp on a minor league deal.
For now, though, Cespedes' triumphant return remains more dream than reality with 11 days to go until the Mets' first spring training games.