Cespedes doesn't start due to illness

Red-hot outfielder played through sickness in Thursday's marathon win

Cespedes doesn't start due to illness

MIAMI -- As Yoenis Cespedes huddled by his locker in a white, hooded sweatshirt Friday afternoon, manager Terry Collins walked over and placed a hand on each of Cespedes' shoulders.

"You good?" Collins asked the hottest hitter on the planet. All Cespedes could muster was a weak smile.

Although Cespedes kept up his otherworldly streak at the plate in Thursday's 16-inning win over the Marlins, his two-homer performance took a toll on his body. Cespedes hit those home runs and played all 16 innings while battling the flu, according to Collins, prompting the manager to hold him out of Friday's lineup. Cespedes appeared as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning, striking out looking.

"He was, at the end of the game, absolutely beat," Collins said.

It would have been impossible to discern from Cespedes' play. The outfielder's two homers Friday gave him five in a three-game span, to go along with two doubles, three walks and nine RBIs. That run bumped his batting average and slugging percentage up to .275 and .800, respectively.

"These are great players," Collins said. "They do amazing things. There's a lot of days you're 0-for-4 and you feel great. There's a lot of days you feel crappy and you're 5-for-5. I went to him yesterday before the game started and asked if he needed it, and he said, 'I'll be OK.' So he played. But by the end of the game, you could tell. If you saw him walk off the field, he was shot."

In Cespedes' absence, Michael Conforto earned a third start in six games, this time in left field.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. 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.