The club hasn't exactly stood by anxiously awaiting the outfielder's return. Since nagging knee issues forced him to the disabled list on July 24, they have acquired Kelly Johnson, Juan Uribe, and Yoenis Cespedes while calling up Michael Conforto, The rookie left fielder has generated a higher WAR (0.3) through seven games than Cuddyer banked (0.0) over 82 bouts.
Cuddyer, who hit ,250/.303/.380 before landing on the DL, gives manager Terry Collins another player to work into a suddenly crowded lineup. The 36-year-old is expected to return to a lesser role, receiving sporadic work in right field and first base. A Friday return, however, gives him the chance to receive some plate appearances as a designated hitter at Tampa Bay.
To make room for him, the Mets may send Conforto back down for the second time this week. However, a weekend in an American League park could entice them to instead option the light-hitting Eric Campbell.