Mets' Ricco: Surgery 'a last resort' for Cespedes
NEW YORK — Mets assistant general manager John Ricco downplayed the idea that there is a “disconnect” between the team and slugger Yoenis Cespedes, despite acknowledging the team didn’t know Cespedes was considering surgery on his heels until he brought it up Friday night.
Cespedes, 32, revealed to reporters that he might need surgery on both heels that would require an eight- to 10-month recovery.
Ricco said Sunday that it was the first time surgery had been brought up as an option.
“I think he probably was a little bit frustrated that it was more painful than he expected. So I can’t speak for why or how he said it, but he did say it, and I think we have to take it seriously,” Ricco said.
“I don’t think it’s a disconnect,” he added. “It’s not like he’s been saying this for months and we haven’t been listening. For the first time, to our knowledge, when he was considering the surgery was when he said that.”
Cespedes homered Friday night in his return from the DL after missing two months with a strained right hip flexor. He disclosed after the game that calcification on his heels has bothered him for 15 years and caused the lower-body injuries that have limited him to 119 games in one-plus seasons since he signed a $110 million, four-year contract.
“They’re all connected,” Ricco said. “So you’ve got to treat the whole problem. We got him to where the legs are strong, but the heel’s an issue. If he can manage the pain, he can play.
“Surgery hasn’t been a consideration up until this point, until he really brought it up the other night.”
New York initially planned to use Cespedes as the designated hitter Saturday against the Yankees and then start him in the outfield Sunday night, but he was sore Saturday and did not play.
He felt better Sunday and offered to be the DH, but the Mets held him out of the lineup again and said he would be monitored throughout the night to see if he might be available off the bench.
“It’s something that he’s managed, we’ve managed with him. It’s one of these things, he has good days, bad days with it. It’s a condition that, surgery is definitely kind of a last-resort thing,” Ricco said. “The way you treat this is with various conservative methods, whether they be orthotics, stretching, anti-inflammatories, and that’s kind of how he’s managed those symptoms over the past years. In this case, he was checked out down in Florida a few weeks ago and it was the same diagnosis. The surgery is fairly radical. It’s going to put you out for a while. So it’s not something that you look to do immediately.”
Cespedes will be examined by doctors Monday, according to Ricco.
“We’re not at odds with him by any stretch. He’s agreeing with every step of the way, the treatment that we’ve given him, to the point where he was anxious to come back; he was feeling good, and then he came back and he felt this on Friday,” Ricco said. “I would tell you there’s no disconnect. I spoke to his agent a half-hour ago and we’re all on the same page.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.