Hamstring Injuries Limited Slugger To 81 Games Last Season

By Ed Coleman
» More Columns

Yoenis Cespedes has a goal: to get back to the MVP-type season he promised last year but fell way short of because of hamstring injuries.

The Mets slugger played half a season — 81 games — in 2017 and had just 291 at-bats. He bulked up over that winter prior to last season with heavy weightlifting, and it seemed to leave him stiff, inflexible and susceptible to pulls and strains.

This offseason was all about pliability and flexibility, and yoga was a key ingredient. Cespedes met with the media for the first time Monday and answered questions through his interpreter, Carlos Guillen.

On how his condition changed this offseason: “I ran a lot, and then I did weightlifting, but not such heavy weight, and also did yoga. I used to work out with much heavier weights. That gave me strength, but I wasn’t flexible. The yoga has helped. It’s been working for me. The last couple of seasons when I’ve showed up here, my lower back was very tight, and I haven’t felt that yet this year.”

Yoenis Cespedes

Yoenis Cespedes (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

On his goals for 2018: “I have both long-term and short-term goals, but it’s the same. I want to be an MVP, that hasn’t changed. Last season I was unlucky because I got hurt. But this is my main goal, to be an MVP.

On what he learned last year in terms of injury prevention: “Injuries are unpreventable, but what I learned was to prepare more to avoid those kind of things from happening again.”

MORE: Palladino: Signing Of Jason Vargas Was Mets’ Better-Than-Nothing Move

On what he thinks of this year’s Mets team: “We are very good, good so far. If we can stay away from injuries, we will have a very good chance to be in the playoffs this season.”

On new manager Mickey Callaway: “I’ve had a chance to speak with him a couple of times. He has shown me and showed us that he’s worried about the players. He has shown trust and confidence in us, and he’s very concerned about us, so he seems to be good.”
 
On having Jay Bruce back in the middle of the lineup: “Now that he’s back, it’s very good for us. No matter which team had Jay Bruce in the middle of their lineup, it would be good for them. Fortunately, it’s us that has him.”

On whether he’ll continue yoga: “Well, I have to find a spot to do it and someone to do it with me. I’m a beginner. Even the first day, I couldn’t even finish because it was really tough. A person who’s not flexible, it’s really tough doing yoga.