Mets OF Yoenis Cespedes -- who has a long rehab road ahead of him -- will start a throwing program on Monday, manager Mickey Callaway said after Sunday's game.
Cespedes, who has been in Port St. Lucie at times during Spring Training, said on Feb. 15 that he expected to return at some point this season from the dual heel surgery he had last summer.
"At this moment, I do feel like I will return," Cespedes told the media through a translator. "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.
If the Mets remain largely healthy and Cespedes returns at some point this season, they'll have a very good problem on their hands. As things stand, the Mets are expected to use Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, and Jeff McNeil in the outfield most days, with Juan Lagares and Keon Broxton on the bench.
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.