Cespedes, Cabrera due to return to Mets on Friday

Cespedes, Cabrera due to return to Mets on Friday

SAN FRANCISCO -- Terry Collins didn't downplay the subject Thursday when discussing the awaited returns of Asdrubal Cabrera and Yoenis Cespedes.

"I think it's going to be a huge boost," said Collins, whose Mets entered their four-game series with the Giants at AT&T Park losers of six of their last nine games and four games behind the Cardinals for the second National League Wild Card spot.

The two figure to provide a jolt for a club that entered play Thursday having scored the fourth-fewest runs in the Majors since the All-Star break. They've been without a couple everyday regulars for the majority of August, though, and Collins said that he expects both Cespedes (strained right quad) and Cabrera (strained left patellar tendon) to finally be activated from the disabled list Friday.

"The energy in the clubhouse, when they look around and see some some of those big bats, that's going to be a big pickup for us," Collins said. Cabrera was 2-for-6 with two RBIs in two rehab games with Class A Advanced St. Lucie.

The manager appeared especially energized by the idea of Cespedes' bat returning to a lineup that now features Jay Bruce. Cespedes was hitting .289/.362/.548 with 22 home runs and 59 RBIs before going on the DL on Aug. 4. Bruce entered Thursday with 85 RBIs and ranked third in the NL with 27 home runs.

But Bruce has struggled since being acquired by New York on Aug. 1. The right fielder took a .186 average in 15 games with the Mets into Thursday's series opener, and Collins believes that Cespedes re-entering the heart of the order may lighten Bruce's load.

"I told him yesterday, when Cespedes gets back, all of a sudden the middle of that lineup gets reshaped," said Collins. "Take a deep breath, exhale, and go up there and do your thing."

Collins notes that he's talked with coaches about "who should hit behind who," adding that it will likely depend on matchups.

Worth noting

• Outfielder Justin Ruggiano was activated from the 15-day DL Thursday. Right-hander Gabriel Ynoa was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas in a corresponding roster move. Ruggiano, who was signed by the Mets on July 30, went 1-for-6 in three games before being placed on the DL with a strained left hamstring.

Neil Walker has now missed three consecutive games because of lower back stiffness. Walker had a similar issue in June that caused him to miss multiple games. However, the problem has lingered longer than it did the first time.

"Hopefully it's just another day, " said Collins. "We can give him about three more, and then he's going to go and have a baby."

Walker and his wife, who is in Pittsburgh, are expecting the birth of their first child in the coming days.

Justin Wise is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area and covered the Mets on Thursday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.