The New York Mets may have an All-Star slugger back in the lineup on opening day.
On Saturday, outfielder Yoenis Céspedes confidently told reporters he will be part of the Mets lineup when they host the Atlanta Braves on July 24. If so, it will be the first MLB game Céspedes has played in since July 20, 2018.
Yoenis Céspedes: "I know for certain now that I will be ready [for Opening Day]. I'm very excited for the season to start in two weeks."— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) July 11, 2020
The two-time Home Run Derby champion has been sidelined during that time due to multiple leg injuries,
In 2018, Céspedes had surgery to remove a bone calcification from his right heel in August and his left heel in October.
Last season, Céspedes suffered a fractured ankle during spring training. At the time, general manager Brodie Van Wagenen only revealed that Céspedes suffered the injury in a "violent" fall at his ranch. In January, the New York Post reported Céspedes was injured during a run-in with a wild boar.
Céspedes originally joined the team on July 31, 2015 in a trade with the Detroit Tigers. Following the 2016 season, he signed a new four-year, $110 million contract to remain in New York. That contract will expire following the 2020 season. In December, the Mets and Céspedes agreed to restructure the final year due to the circumstances of his injury. His base salary was reportedly reduced from $29.5 million to $6 million.
Céspedes will still have an opportunity to earn incentives. He will obviously have a much better chance of recollecting lost money if he can complete the 60-game season without any setbacks.
According to the New York Post, Céspedes looked good running the bases prior to Saturday’s simulation game. With the universal designated hitter also in play this season, the Mets have the luxury of making Céspedes their full-time DH. Not having to run around the outfield for nine innings will save a lot of wear and tear and make it conceivable that Céspedes can maintain a key role this season.
Of course, Mets fans will want to see it before they believe it. But between Céspedes’ confidence and the favorable circumstances, the stars may finally be aligning.
More from Yahoo Sports: