Things are rarely boring with the New York Mets.
The latest example: a wild boar and Yoenis Cespedes.
The New York Post reported Friday that the fractured ankle Cespedes suffered in the spring came from a bizarre incident the injury-plagued outfielder had with an animal at his ranch in Port St. Lucie, Florida.
News of the injury itself isn’t new. Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen told reporters in May that Cespedes suffered multiple right ankle fractures in what he called a “violent” fall on the outfielder’s ranch that was not baseball-related. Details of what happened hadn’t come out until the Post’s story Friday, however.
Citing multiple sources, the newspaper reported that Cespedes caught a wild boar in one of several traps he sets up at his ranch to keep the animals away from people. In this case, the boar was taken out of the trap and “either charged toward Cespedes or startled him,” per the Post, causing him to step into a hole and fracture the ankle.
According to the report, Cespedes immediately told Mets officials what had happened. Officials from the Mets, the commissioner’s office and the players union, as well representatives for Cespedes, eventually visited the ranch and confirmed the validity of his story.
Cespedes agreed to a four-year, $110 million contract with the Mets in December 2016, but he hasn’t played for the team since July 20, 2018. Injuries have been the problem. He had surgery to remove bone calcification from his right heel on Aug. 2, 2018, and from his left heel on Oct. 26, 2018. Those surgeries were expected to keep Cespedes sidelined for at least half of this past season, and then the ankle fractures ruined any hope he had of returning.
The sides have been battling over his contract since. New York withheld part of Cespedes’ salary, alleging that he was hurt during an activity prohibited by his contract’s guarantee language. The players’ association filed a grievance, and the sides settled on an amended contract on Dec. 13 before the case was argued.
Cespedes had been owed $29 million for 2019, but that was cut to $14,811,828, according to Mets payroll information made available to all clubs and obtained by the Associated Press. His base salary of $29.5 million in 2020 was cut to $6 million, per the AP. However, if Cespedes doesn’t start this season on the injured list because of the injuries suffered in the boar incident, his base salary would increase to $11 million and could grow further through incentives.
Cespedes’ agent declined comment to the Post on its story.
A two-time All-Star, the 34-year-old Cespedes has played in only 119 games in the first three seasons of his contract and just 38 since the end of the 2017 season.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.