Callaway On WFAN: 'My Gut Tells Me' Cespedes Returns This Season

By WFAN Sports Radio 101.9 FM/66AM New York

The 2019 season has been a bit of a roller coaster ride for the New York Mets.

After jumping out to a hot start, the Mets have gone 5-10 over the last 15 games, falling two games behind the Phillies for the lead in the NL East.

The Mets' offense has performed well this year despite not having the team's biggest bat in the lineup.

Due to seperate heel surgeries he underwent in August and October, Yoenis Cespedes played in only 38 games last season. While the team hopes the veteran can return to the lineup at some point in 2019, there is no guarantee that he will be back this year.

Cespedes has been hitting in the batting cage, but has yet to resume running. Speaking on "Mike's On" Tuesday, Mets manager Mickey Callaway had some encouraging words about his slugging outfielder.

"You know what, he feels great every day, just in daily life walking around," Callaway said to Mike Francesa about the veteran outfielder. "His heels feel so much better. He's very excited about that. He's swinging the ball off the tee, he's throwing, he's doing a lot of biking. He's progressing...

"The immediate plan is to keep on pace with what he's doing. Just continuing to improve every day. We don't have a date or anything set for this guy. We want him to be 100% when he comes back because if you add him to that lineup that we're putting out there every day, it becomes really special."

As Callaway stated, there is no timetable for Cespedes' return.

The typical recovery period for the surgeries the 33-year-old underwent is about 8-10 months, which would put Cespedes' potential return to the team sometime around August.

While he couldn't say for certain that the outfielder will return this season, the manager did offer Mets fans a reason for hope on the matter.

"My gut tells me we will, and that's what I hope for," the manager said on whether or not we will see Cespedes on the field this season. "What happens, I can't speculate on that... Knowing this guy and how bad he wants to come out here and contribute, especially with this team, my bet would be on him."

Yoenis CespedesUSA TODAY Images

Cespedes isn't the only Mets veteran attempting to make his way back into the lineup.

Infielder Jed Lowrie suffered a sprained left knee capsule two months ago and failed to appear in any of the team's spring training games.

Lowrie recently began his rehab assignment, and Callaway thinks it may not be too long before we see the versatile infielder in Queens.

"Lowrie is progressing really nice," the manager told Francesa. "He's playing in Port St. Lucie games. He's got the day off today, playing another nine innings tomorrow. He played yesterday, he's playing multiple positions. He's feeling really good. He looks ready to play. I was watching some video yesterday of his at-bats, and he's going to be nice to have in that lineup as well.

"His defense- we forget how good defensively this kid is. He can play third, he can play second, he can stand at short if we need a blow for Rosario. We're excited to get him back very soon."

New York has been without another one of its veterans over the last few games, as Robinson Cano has been out since April 27 after being hit in the hand with a pitch.

Cano hasn't appeared in a game since Saturday, but the Mets manager believes the second baseman could make an appearance as soon as Tuesday.

"He came in very improved today, so we're hoping he might be available late in the game today to pinch hit. It's something that if he can play with the soreness, he will," Callaway stated.

While the team's hitting has looked strong this season, the same cannot be said about the Mets' pitching.

The pitching staff currently sports a 5.31 ERA, while the team's bullpen has the third-worst ERA in all of baseball at 5.45.

Jeurys Familia has played a large role in that. After returning to the Mets on a three-year deal, Familia has appeared in 13 games thus far, earning a 5.68 ERA and 1.89 WHIP. The 29-year-old has allowed 12 hits while walking 12 batters in only 12.2 innings, picking up 12 strikeouts along the way. 

Despite the reliever's struggles in 2019, Callaway is still confident that Familia can return to his old form.

"He stands up in front of that locker, good and bad, and takes ownership (for his performance)," Callaway said about Familia. "He works hard, he's a great guy, and he's going to go out there and do his best every single night. Sometimes, hey, it doesn't work out. But he's a great pitcher and he's going to get it done tonight."