Ce­s­pedes re­turn is a humdinger

Chicago Sun-Times - - BASEBALL -

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.

AP

Yoe­nis Ce­s­pedes, play­ing his first game since the 2018 sea­son, ripped a solo homer for the Mets as the DH.

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