Mets think Cabrera will be ready for opener

Shortstop strained patella tendon in left knee on March 10

Mets think Cabrera will be ready for opener

PORT ST LUCIE, Fla. -- Just that quickly, the worst of the Mets' doubts have vanished. The team now expects shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, whose Opening Day availability seemed dubious as recently as early this week, to be ready April 3 in Kansas City.

"Oh yeah, absolutely," Cabrera said when asked if he would be healthy enough to play against the Royals. "I feel really, really good, and I hope to be ready for Opening Day."

Doctors originally prescribed Cabrera, who strained the patella tendon in his left knee during a March 10 Grapefruit League game, a two-week period of rest without any physical activity. But Cabrera felt well enough to begin riding a stationary bike Tuesday, just five days after his injury, and could advance to additional activities soon.

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"I feel much better," he said. "I feel good."

"Right now I think he'll be available, yeah," manager Terry Collins said Thursday morning.

Still, the Mets are likely to hold Cabrera out of Grapefruit League games until they are sure he will be ready on Opening Day. Because teams can backdate disabled list stints nine days prior to the start of the season, the Mets could place Cabrera on the DL and only have him miss six days in April -- or three total games, due to their staggered opening week schedule. But if Cabrera appears in a Grapefruit League game, the Mets would only be able to backdate a DL stint to the day of his most recent game played.

Instead, Cabrera is likely to receive most of the at-bats he needs on the Minor League side.

A career .267 hitter over nine seasons with the Indians, Nationals and Rays, Cabrera has averaged 16.8 homers per year over his last five seasons. The Mets signed him to a two-year, $18.5-million contract this offseason.

Worth noting

• In his first outing since skipping Monday's start against the Tigers due to back soreness, Jacob deGrom struck out three batters over three innings of one-hit ball in the Mets' 6-5 win over the Marlins.

"Before, it was just a little stiff," deGrom said. "I think it was a good decision to skip that start and come back today."

• Though Yoenis Cespedes left Thursday's game immediately after an Edwin Jackson pitch struck him on the inside of the right wrist, the move had nothing to do with injury. Cespedes said afterward that he was completely fine, and does not expect to miss any time. He had skipped the Mets' previous trip to Roger Dean Stadium due to hip stiffness, which he also classified as a non-issue.

• The Mets made one additional cut on Thursday, reassigning catcher Nevin Ashley to Minor League camp. With 17 days until Opening Night, their roster stands at 38.

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.