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Mets Morning News: Cespedes “looks like a monster”

Your Sunday morning dose of New York Mets and MLB news, notes, and links.

New York Mets Workout Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Meet the Mets

Luis Rojas spoke to the media yesterday and said that Yoenis Cespedes has looked good in outfield drills so far, although it’s unclear whether he will play the field this season. He also said that the Mets will begin live BP today and that Melky Cabrera reports that he’s in “the best shape in awhile.” (ITBSOHL alert!)

“He looks like a monster,” Michael Conforto said yesterday of Cespedes. “He looks like he’s motivated. He looks like he’s in shape. I’ve seen some of the stuff he was doing to get himself ready, some videos of him working out at his ranch. The guy is definitely hungry. He misses the game.”

Rojas also said that Marcus Stroman and Amed Rosario—whose absence at yesterday’s workouts was noted by the media—will be at Citi Field soon. Marcus Stroman tweeted yesterday that he will be at Mets camp today.

Seth Lugo also spoke to the media, fielding questions about what staying in shape has been like with a newborn child in the home, his feelings on playing this year, his toe being 100%, his desire to be a starting pitcher and what his role will be in 2020, and more.

Michael Conforto is “happy to focus on baseball again” after serving as the Mets’ player rep during negotiations between MLB and the MLBPA. He also discussed the new protocols in place at Mets camp due to coronavrius, saying in part, “All of us understand what a positive test does. It’s going to shut you down for probably something like three weeks. Obviously it’s something we worry about. That’s kind of the reason why we’re going above and beyond on these protocols.”

Tim Healey of Newsday gave us an update on Noah Syndergaard’s rehab from Tommy John surgery, which is being overseen by a Yankees employee.

Laura Albanese of Newsday takes a look back at one of the “nuttiest games in baseball history”—a 19-inning affair between the Mets and Braves that took place on July 4, 1985.

Albanese also spoke to Ron Darling and Howard Johnson—baseball purists who have had to make peace with baseball’s rule changes.

MLB is set to release the official 2020 season schedule this week, but we do know that the Mets will open at Citi Field against the Braves on July 24.

Around the National League East

The Braves’ Freddie Freeman, Will Smith, Touki Toussaint and Pete Kozma have all tested positive for coronavirus. Smith and Toussaint are not showing symptoms, but Freeman’s condition is more serious. Freeman’s wife, Chelsea, took to Instagram to say, in part, “[Freddie] is someone that literally never gets sick and this virus hit him like a ton of bricks.” According to Brian Snitker it could be “a while” before Freeman is back with the Braves.

Braves coach Eric Young, who is at high risk, has chosen to opt out of the season.

Meanwhile, four Miami Marlins players have tested positive for COVID-19 as well. The team is not disclosing the names of the players.

Around Major League Baseball

The 31 positive player tests yesterday brings the total number of players who have tested positive up to the “70-80 range” reports Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post.

In a gruesome scene at Yankees camp, Masahiro Tanaka was struck in the head by a line drive off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton during a simulated game and had to be assisted off the field. Tanaka later tweeted that he was “all good.” His CT scan at the hospital was negative and he was later released. He will undergo concussion protocol.

DJ LeMahieu and Luis Cessa have both tested positive for coronavirus, according to Aaron Boone. Luis Cessa has minor symptoms and LeMahieu is asymptomatic.

The DodgersDavid Price has opted out of the 2020 season. So has Felix Hernandez.

With MLB moving forward with an August 31 trading deadline, the spotlight will be on Francisco Lindor, one of the most prominent trade candidates.

Given the nation’s reckoning with statues and monuments to problematic figures of eras past, Dale Murphy believes that the MVP trophy should bear Frank Robinson’s name rather than that of Kenesaw Mountain Landis, who was a proponent of segregation in baseball.

Yesterday at Amazin’ Avenue

Chris McShane reminded us all that, “If there are games being played for us to watch, we’d consider ourselves lucky to be able to watch. Even if baseball pulls this off impeccably, though, it will be a lot more fun to watch when players’ health isn’t constantly at risk—and the outcome of the season could be determined by days lost to COVID.” Writing about baseball during a pandemic is weird. But we’re going to do the best we can to remember the context of everything that happens.

Christian Romo previewed Jeurys Familia’s season, where he will likely be on a shorter leash than he was last season.

This Date in Mets History

On this date in 1965, Ron Swoboda set the record for most home runs by a Mets rookie in a single season. That record would hold until Darryl Strawberry broke it in 1983. And of course, we all know that there is a new record-holder in that department currently playing for the Mets.