NEW YORK — The second Subway Series was a night of crossroads.
Mets closer Jeurys Familia was withheld because a trade could be imminent.
Mets slugger Yoenis Cespedes returned with a home run, then said the cause of his leg problems was calcification on both heels that could require surgery and an 8-to-10-month recovery.
Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez also came back from the DL, and starting pitcher Domingo German was banished to the minor leagues after his second straight poor outing.
And the lowly Mets beat the Yankees 7-5 Friday night behind five laborious innings from Noah Syndergaard, who caused concern to his manager with a velocity drop but said it was fatigue rather than a reoccurrence of the finger injury.
Familia is eligible for free agency next offseason. Manager Mickey Callaway was called in the middle innings and told not to use the 28-year-old because “there could be a potential trade happening.” Oakland appears to be the most likely destination.
“It’s tough for me,” said a somber Familia, who signed with New York as a 17-year-old in 2007. “I love this team. I love my teammates. I have good memories here.”
An All-Star in 2016, Familia has 123 saves for the Mets.
“I had a really good time here. It’s tough, man,” he said.
Cespedes had been out since May 13 with a strained right hip flexor, the latest in a string of lower body injuries that have limited him to 119 games in 1½ seasons since signing a $110 million, four-year contract. He went 2 for 4 with a third-inning home run off the left-field foul pole on a 3-0 pitch. That gave the Mets a 4-1 lead against German (2-6).
“The cause of my problems are my heels, because when I feel some pain on my heels, I started to modify my walking, my running or even my standing,” he said through a translator.
A two-time All-Star, the 32-year-old Cespedes said the problem involved both feet.
“The only way that I can avoid my heels to keep from bothering me or getting me hurt is having surgery,” he said. “I’m still thinking about it because the recovery process takes over 8-to-10 months.”
Cespedes said he didn’t know whether he would be able to make it through the rest of the season.
“I’ve been playing like this for the last 15 years, but as time goes by it’s getting worse and worse,” he said.
Cespedes spent much of his layoff at the Mets’ training complex in Port St. Lucie, Florida, and was upset by criticism.
“I found some things on social media, which, honestly, I don’t care, but it shows that people don’t know how hard I worked down there to get back,” he said.
Callaway said the outfielder could see time at first base. Cespedes took throws at first in Florida but not grounders.
Syndergaard (6-1) returned July 13 and beat Washington after seven weeks on the disabled list caused by a strained right index finger. He allowed one run and eight hits in five innings Friday, leaving after 2 mph velocity drop in his final inning. He has not pitched a 1-2-3 inning since returning.
He attributed the velocity issue to “a little dead arm” because of the injury layoff and six days between starts caused by the All-Star break.
“Nothing to be alarmed,” he said.
Robert Gsellman pitched two innings for his fifth save and Michael Conforto drove in three runs for the Mets, who took a 6-1 lead and allowed the Yankees to close within a run. Out of contention, the Mets also may deal infielder Asdrubal Cabrera, another free-agent-to-be.
The Yankees dropped 5 1/2 games behind AL East-leading Boston, their largest deficit since before play on April 23.
“We’ve got to get rolling,” manager Aaron Boone said. “We got to go out and perform and get our ship right.”
German gave up four runs, five hits and three walks in 3 2/3 innings, dropping to 0-2 in his last five starts. He allowed run-scoring scoring doubles by Cabrera, Conforto and Jose Bautista in the first, leaving him with a 9.00 first-inning ERA in 13 starts. Boone attributed the early struggles to poor fastball command.
German was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and will be replaced by Luis Cessa in the rotation.
“I’ve got to go down to Triple-A and work on certain things,” German said through a translator.
Sanchez was 1 for 5 in his first game since injuring a groin on June 24. He struck out with runners at the corners in the seventh and eighth innings on a night the Yankees went 2 for 13 with runners in scoring position and stranded 14. He ran the bases gingerly.
“I don’t want to hurt myself doing something I shouldn’t,” he said through a translator.
The Yankees had a scout at RHP Nathan Eovaldi’s start against Miami.
The 16th home sellout this season, a season-high 47,175, was three more than last year and matched 2014 for the most since 20 in 2011.
Mets: OF Jay Bruce, who hasn’t played since June 17 because of a sore right hip, still isn’t swinging a bat.
Yankees: 2B Gleyber Torres, out since straining his right hip on July 4, is scheduled to start an injury rehabilitation assignment Saturday at Class A Tampa and rejoin Yankees on Wednesday at Tampa Bay. … OF Clint Frazier was put back in a concussion protocol and placed on the 7-day DL after making a diving catch for Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre on Thursday night and leaving after one inning. Frazier sustained a concussion early in spring training. … OF Jacoby Ellsbury, sidelined with a variety of injuries since spring training, still hasn’t progressed to baseball activities.
LHP Steven Matz (4-7, 3.38) starts Saturday for the Mets and RHP Sonny Gray (6-7, 5.46) for the Yankees.
By RONALD BLUM, AP Baseball Writer, Associated Press