Yoenis Cespedes breaks silence, aims for Opening Day

Yoenis Cespedes broke his silence with the media Sunday, saying he didn't want to talk about the past and is hoping to be ready for Opening Day.

This past Monday, the New York Mets outfielder had told reporters he did not plan to talk to the media.

"Not today, not tomorrow, not at all this year," he said, only to change his mind six days later, answering questions through an interpreter.

Asked by reporters whether he planned to be ready for Opening Day, he said, "If I continue progressing the way that I am, yes."

He has been working out with his Mets teammates since Monday.

While recovering from surgery on his heels last May, Cespedes fractured his right ankle in multiple places in an accident at his ranch near the Mets' training complex in Port St. Lucie, Florida. He and the Mets agreed in December to an amended contract that cut his base salary from $29.5 million to $6 million. He would raise his pay to $11 million if he has one active day on the major league roster and to $20 million if he has 650 plate appearances -- a figure he has reached just once.

"I'm not going to speak about the past," Cespedes told reporters. "I committed an error and I paid the price for it, but today I'll be talking about the present and the future."

He said the chance to raise his salary by staying on the field was important, but he would have come into this season with the same motivation regardless of how his contract was structured.

"A big part of the motivation is the people who have been out there and have been saying that I can't do it," he said. "So I am going out there to prove that I can."

Cespedes, 34, won a Gold Glove in 2015 and a Silver Slugger the following year. He has played in only 119 games in the first three seasons of a four-year, $110 million contract, just 38 since the end of the 2017 season, because of hamstring strains, a hip flexor, surgery on his heels and his broken ankle.

"I feel good. I am happy with the progress," Cespedes told reporters. "Every day I am still working to get better and better. It's not as fast as I want it to be, but as the season approaches, I feel really good right now."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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