Céspedes expects to be DH for Mets on opening day

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New York Mets Michael Conforto, left, watches as Yoenis Cespedes takes batting practice in the cage before an exhibition game against the New York Yankees, Sunday, July 19, 2020, at Yankee Stadium in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Yoenis Céspedes expects to be the designated hitter for the New York Mets on Friday when they open the season against the Atlanta Braves.

It will be his first major league game in more than two years. Injuries to his feet and legs have sidelined him since July 20, 2018.

Céspedes said he’s feeling good and is confident that he’ll also play left field at some point this season. But he told reporters through a translator Tuesday that “at least for the first game, for opening day, I’ll be the DH.”

The 34-year-old slugger, an All-Star in 2014 and 2016, had surgery on both heels and then broke his right ankle in a nasty fall at his Florida ranch. Now he's healthy and eager to help the Mets.

“I think the strongest part of me is my mind, is my mentality,” Céspedes said. “I think whether it’s a good day or a bad day, my mentality has always been strong. I’ll be ready to play once the time comes.”


Astros second baseman Jose Altuve bruised his left leg in Houston's exhibition win over Kansas City on Tuesday.

The 2017 AL MVP was injured in a collision at home plate in the fourth inning of the 15-6 win that was the Astros' last tuneup before their opener on Friday against Seattle. The team said he is listed as day to day.