Cano was pulled from New York's game Wednesday night against the San Francisco Giants hours after coming off the injured list, limping away with left quadriceps tightness two weeks after initially straining the muscle.
Cano hit two groundouts in two at-bats, including an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in the third. He favored his left leg coming up the line and was beaten to the bag by about a step. Adeiny Hechavarria replaced him at second base to begin the fifth.
Cano, 36, said he doesn't think he'll need to go back on the injured list, but he'll be evaluated further Thursday before New York makes any determinations.
"It's just got tightness," Cano said. "Nothing else."
Cano said before the game he would be cautious to avoid reinjury, noting it might take a few games before he felt 100 percent.
His quick exit was reminiscent of Yoenis Cespedes' game with the Mets last summer, when the slugging outfielder came off the shelf for one night, admitted postgame he might need surgery on both heels and ended up back on the disabled list. Cespedes has since had the operations and hasn't appeared in a game.
Manager Mickey Callaway defended New York's handling of Cano's injury.
"We knew that he was ready to be activated and play," Callaway said. "I think that he understands his body more than we can evaluate it. He looked great running down the line. He looked great fielding. He expressed to us that he was ready to go, and so we activated him.
"I think we did everything we could. We leaned on the player. We put him through strenuous workouts. I think we approached it the right way. Some things are out of your control. So no, no regrets. I just hope he's not injured for a longer period of time."
Acquired last offseason from Seattle, Cano is hitting .238 with three homers and 14 RBIs for New York. He has been criticized for failing to hustle on a few ground-ball outs this season, then was hurt May 22 running hard on a groundout.
Cano ran the bases and did other exercises Monday and Tuesday and was cleared after waking up feeling well Wednesday.
The Mets beat the Giants 7-0 behind Jason Vargas' shutout.
Outfielder Aaron Altherr was designated for assignment to open a roster spot.