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Mets left scrambling as Cespedes no-shows, then opts out of season

FILE PHOTO: Jul 6, 2020; Flushing Meadows, New York, United States; New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) walks across the infield during workouts at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes has opted out of the remainder of the 2020 season for “COVID-related reasons,” the team said, after he did not show up for Sunday’s away game against the Atlanta Braves.

Cespedes’ absence from the Mets’ 0-4 loss was unexpected, prompting concern from fans as the New York team released a statement before the start of the game saying it had been unable to contact the two-time All-Star or ascertain his whereabouts.

General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen told reporters after the game that Cespedes is “healthy and he’s safe.”

“We learned during the game today, late in the game, that he has decided to opt out of the remainder of the season for COVID-related reasons,” said Van Wagenen. “When we showed up to the ballpark this morning, he was not here, he was not on site. We weren’t aware of why.

“We were able to send a security team to the hotel and then ultimately learned later that he was healthy, he was not in any danger.”

The incident caps a rough patch for the Mets, who have lost their last five straight games, in a shortened, 60-game season.

MLB, meanwhile, is scrambling to keep its schedule on track after numerous games were postponed due to positive COVID-19 test results among players.

Brewers center fielder Lorenzo Cain opted out of the rest of the 2020 season, the team said on Saturday, though it did not specify why.

Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Dan Grebler

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