Cespedes return is a humdinger
It didn’t take much time for Yoenis Céspedes to swing right into a DH role in his long-awaited return to New York.
Céspedes came back with a bang, immediately capitalizing on the new designated hitter rule in the National League by launching a home run that sent Jacob deGrom and the Mets past the Braves 1-0 in their season opener Friday.
After five dominant innings from deGrom, who was popping the catcher’s mitt with 99 mph fastballs at the start, Céspedes connected in the seventh off reliever Chris Martin (0-1) for his first long ball since his previous major-league game on July 20, 2018.
♦ Mike Moustakas drove in four runs in an emphatic first impression, teaming with fellow newcomers Shogo Akiyama and Nick Castellanos to turn the Reds’ opener into a 7-1 victory over the visiting Tigers.
♦ Jesus Aguilar hit a two-run homer, Sandy Alcantara pitched neatly into the seventh and the Marlins beat the Phillies 5-2, spoiling manager Joe Girardi’s first game in Philadelphia.
♦ Shane Bieber dominated the Royals, striking out 14 in six innings, as the host Indians won 2-0.
Blue Jays shuffle off to Buffalo
The displaced Blue Jays will play in a minorleague ballpark in Buffalo, New York, after being turned down by the Canadian government and blocked from playing in Pittsburgh by the state of Pennsylvania. Their home for the season will be Sahlen Field, where the Class AAA affiliate Buffalo Bisons usually play.
Ailing Kershaw hopes to return soon
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw’s back issue that forced him to miss his Opening Day start is improving, and he hopes to return soon. Kershaw had an MRI exam after tweaking his back three days earlier, and it showed no structural damage.
♦ Marlins catcher Jorge Alfaro went on the injured list before their opener. The team gave no reason but said it expected Alfaro to return this season.
Yoenis Cespedes, playing his first game since the 2018 season, ripped a solo homer for the Mets as the DH.