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Yoenis Cespedes back in lineup, Steven Matz throws off flat ground

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The Mets appear to have dodged a bullet with their star outfielder.

MLB: Washington Nationals at New York Mets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Yoenis Cespedes’s thumb is apparently feeling much better, and the star outfielder is back in the Mets’ lineup tonight for the series opener against the Braves. Cespedes jammed his left thumb while sliding into third base on a double steal on Sunday in San Diego, and he was later removed from the game. He was diagnosed with a sore thumb and x-rays came back negative.

Cespedes said himself that he thought the ailment would keep him out for at least a few days. But he tested the hand out on Monday, hitting off a tee and playing catch, and he said he felt fine. The Mets did not feel a follow-up MRI was necessary. Even though he struggled for much of April, this news is a huge break for the Mets. Cespedes has broken out of his slump over the last week, hitting .381/.417/.762 with two home runs over the Mets’ last six games.

In addition, Steven Matz said his back feels fine, but Mickey Callaway said Matz felt “tenderness” and won’t be available out of the bullpen tonight. Matz threw off flat ground today, and the Mets pushed his next start to Saturday after he experienced upper back stiffness following his last start.

Sandy Alderson also spoke to the media, revealing some other medical updates. Most notably, Kevin Plawecki’s grip strength in his broken catching hand still has not improved, and the Mets now expect him to miss more time than was originally thought. Anthony Swarzak is also not close to a return.