PORT ST. LUCIE – Yoenis Cespedes won't be discussing it, but on Monday he looked like a baseball player again, if only in one facet of the game.
Hours after telling reporters at his locker that he wasn't going to speak to the media this season, Cespedes was in a field in Clover Park doing live punching exercises against Michael Wacha and was almost home. Then Cespedes struck the fence with bullpen trainer Ricky Bones on the hill for more routine punching exercises.
"He's got the same swing," said Robinson Cano.
However, when Cano noticed that Cespedes had missed the last 1½ seasons, he warned, "It doesn't matter how he feels, we need to understand that we have to give him time. It's hard if you miss a month, where you don't play and now if you miss two years how hard it is. "
Manager Luis Rojas stated that Cespedes is making "progress" and is not yet participating in full workouts with teammates. It remains unclear whether he will be ready to start the season with the club.
Cespedes arrived at the camp long before the official position player registration date on Saturday, but the team's media officials said that for the first time since spring 2019 training, he would no longer speak to reporters this week. But Cespedes only issued a short message Monday when he was approached by a group of reporters who asked if he had a few minutes to speak.
"Not today, not tomorrow, not at all this year," said Cespedes.
"Because I don't want to," said Cespedes.
Cespedes, who is recovering from multiple fractures of the right ankle after encountering a wild boar at his ranch last May, was asked if he could tell how he was feeling. He refused.
Would Cespedes, who had previously had surgery to remove calcification from both heels, want to talk to fans about how he feels?
"Maybe to my fans," he said before leaving.
Cespedes, entering into the final year of his contract, agreed to a restructured deal for 2020 that would only guarantee him $ 6 million (with incentives that could increase the number to $ 20 million). He was originally expected to earn $ 29.5 million, but accepted the cut in wages to avoid the possibility that his contract would be canceled by an arbitrator after the boar incident at his ranch. Cespedes kept boar traps on the ranch, and sources said he was about to free the animal from one when the injury occurred to avoid an attack. As part of the restructuring, Cespedes' contract was cut from $ 29 million to $ 22.9 million in 2019. Cespedes signed a four-year contract worth $ 110 million after the 2016 seasons, but has only appeared in 129 games since then.
Cespedes was fooled by Wacha on his first strike of the day and let his bat fly over the locked third base bank. Cespedes later encountered a driveway to the left that cleared the fence in rotten areas.
"Back when he saw Wacha, he looked really good, almost as if he hadn't missed a punch against Pitcher," said Rojas. "He takes the ball, he hit a shot that just went badly, a little bit ahead, but he has so much strength. The ball left court 7 on field 7, so a big day for him."
Rojas was asked if he had problems with his players not speaking to the media.
"We are particularly happy with Cespedes that he went through the day today," said Rojas. "It was a big day for him. He joined the guys and there our focus will be on him going through the day and eventually being able to continue playing so we don't have the timeline so we're glad he did some activity with it the rest of his teammates today. "