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Yoenis Alive

Perhaps the reason Yoenis Cespedes accessorizes like he’s part of a road work crew — highway-cone orange elbow and ankle pads outlined in traffic-redirecting neon yellow — is he likes driving his team toward victory. Just because he hadn’t done much of it lately didn’t mean he’d lost his taste for it.

Perhaps it was just a matter of time before he got behind the wheel of the Mets’ bus again. Perhaps it was being so relatively close to Oakland that has shifted him to another gear. Whatever it is that’s gotten Yo hitting like Yo, Yo is hitting like Yo. Two nights in California, two nights of Cespedes extra-base flair. Suddenly you notice him not just by all the stuff wrapped around his limbs or hanging from his neck. In case you’d forgotten, this fella can hit a bit. Can hit a lot when he’s hot.

Right now, he’s hot.

Tuesday night in San Diego, Cespedes’s sizzle was palpable. A homer to start the Mets’ scoring in the first. A double to tie the game in the fifth. A triple that untied it in the seventh, featuring a Padre error that allowed Yoenis to come all the way around as Mets have been doing delightfully regularly recently without bothering to hit balls that leave the park. The so-called Little League home run, the third the Mets have engineered with a little help from their foes since the All-Star break (and the only kind I ever managed in tee ball), put the Mets up, 6-4. That extra run would become more than a marine layer of icing on the cake in the ninth once Addison Reed came in to further diminish his trade value. Addison gave up an RBI double to Dusty Coleman, who I believe San Diego acquired from a random baseball-name generator, to cut the New York lead to 6-5. But that was all that would be given back. Reed got a save, Seth Lugo and the Mets got a win [1] and Cespedes…

Where did Ces go? Not back to the loving embrace of Bob Melvin, not yet anyway. Terry Collins removed his re-emerging superstar after his home-to-home dash because Archie Bell & the Drells phoned in from Houston, Texas, to dedicate the “Tighten Up [2]” to Yo’s quad. Cespedes looked great yet didn’t feel quite right, so, cycle possibility or no, better safe than sorry.

Not sorry Cespedes is a Met for a few more years, regardless of last month’s cold spell, the lower body parts marked fragile and the general sense that he’s marching (hopefully not limping) to his own drummer. Anything could go wrong physically at any time, one supposes, but plenty can go right competitively when Cespedes is all in one piece.

He’s a helluva piece to have.

Helluva time ahead at Turn of the Corkscrew [3], 110 N. Park Ave. in Rockville Centre, L.I., Friday night, 7 PM. I’ll reading from and discussing my book Piazza: Catcher, Slugger, Icon, Star. Copies will be for sale from the fine folks at this fine books & wine establishment, but admission, conversation and inscription will be gratis. If you’re in the vicinity, I do hope you’ll drop by.