Notes: Woodward the hot bat at first

Notes: Woodward the hot bat at first

NEW YORK -- If there's been one defining characteristic of Willie Randolph's brief managerial career, it's that he has been unapologetic in playing the hot hand.

Friday marked another of those occasions, as Randolph gave a nod to Chris Woodward for a second straight night. The 28-year-old utilityman would have started at first base in place of the struggling Doug Mientkiewicz, if the game had not been rained out.

"I'm going to play pretty much on any particular day who I think can help the team," Randolph said. "Woody had a good game [Thursday] night, a couple of hits, so he's playing."

First base was nearly foreign territory for Woodward before this season, with only eight career appearances, but the Mets have successfully expanded Woodward into an everyman role. Friday would have marked Woodward's seventh game played at first base this season alone, including five starts.

"I'm comfortable," Woodward said. "I feel like I can do a pretty good job over there. Obviously, there's things I haven't seen, but I feel like I can make all the plays."

"He's working over there every day," Randolph said. "He's a good athlete with a good arm. Obviously, he doesn't have a whole lot of experience over there, but I feel very, very comfortable with him over there."

That vote of confidence isn't particularly surprising, considering that Randolph pushed for the Mets to sign Woodward during general manager Omar Minaya's winter shuffling. Randolph would later admit to being impressed with the scrappy demeanor of Woodward, whom Randolph saw as an opponent with the Blue Jays.

Once Randolph got Woodward in camp this spring, he put an arm around the career infielder's shoulder and suggested that Woodward start taking balls in the outfield -- and anywhere else possible -- in order to appear in as many games as possible.

Woodward, anointed the Mets' new jack-of-all-trades with Joe McEwing's release, made his outfield debut 10 days into the season on April 14.

"That's the good thing about being able to play anywhere," Woodward said. "That's what they told me in Spring Training, that I'd have chances to get in the games. You never know what's going to happen."

Like Friday, when Woodward arrived at Shea Stadium fresh off a 2-for-4 night against the Diamondbacks. With left-hander Noah Lowry scheduled to pitch for the Giants, Woodward -- hitting .391 (9-for-23) with two home runs in his last nine games -- suspected that Randolph might give the left-handed hitting Mientkiewicz a night off.

Though Mientkiewicz is hitting just .206, he appeared in good spirits before Friday's rainout, idly chatting with reporters about pop culture.

That would mesh with Randolph's later commentary. Just as he did when Miguel Cairo continued to rack up consecutive second-base starts over regular second baseman Kaz Matsui, Randolph insisted that playing Woodward was just a gut instinct, not a warning shot directed at his first baseman.

"He's going to play," Randolph said. "I'm not trying to send any message to him or anything like that. I just had a feeling about Woodward playing."

Rainout theater: The Mets announced that Friday's contest had been rained out shortly after the scheduled 7:10 p.m. ET start time, but scheduled starter Tom Glavine said he was kept up to speed on the developments from 6:30 p.m. on.

That saved the left-hander from warming up in the bullpen, which should allow him to restart his daily routine again Saturday in preparation for the start against the Giants.

"That was the good part about it," Glavine said.

Star gazing: Usually, it's the Mets who play the roles of stars on display at Shea Stadium, which is why it wasn't surprising that several players enjoyed the opportunity to hobnob with Hollywood stars before Friday's washout.

Actresses Claire Danes and Julia Stiles were among a cast of celebrities taking batting practice during the early afternoon hours, on hand for the third annual "A Night to Believe" to benefit Project A.L.S., which aims to treat and cure Lou Gehrig's disease.

   David Wright  /   3B
Born: 12/20/82
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 200 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R

David Wright and Steve Trachsel were among the notable Mets who ambled down the dugout runway for a meet-and-greet. Trachsel has been around the block a few times during his big league career, but for Wright, posing for pictures with notable personalities -- the second-year Met has met Jerry Seinfeld, Matthew Broderick and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon since donning a Major League uniform -- is still a very big thrill.

"It's funny how things come full circle," Wright said. "These people were unapproachable. Now I'll tell them, 'I'm a big fan of your work,' and they come back and say the same thing. I get a kick out of it."

Cautiously optimistic: Cairo, who left Wednesday's game after three at-bats with a strained hamstring, said Friday that believes he will be able to avoid a stint on the disabled list.

"It's getting better," Cairo said. "It's less tight than [Thursday]. It's getting better every day. ... It could have been worse."

Randolph said that he still considers Cairo day-to-day, but that Friday would present the best test yet of his status.

"48 hours is when you really tell about a hamstring," Randolph said. "If you pull a hamstring one day, the next day you won't really get a true gauge on it."

On deck: After Friday's rainout, the Mets and Giants kick off their weekend series on Saturday afternoon, a game that will be nationally televised on FOX.

Glavine gets the start against fellow lefty Lowry. First pitch is scheduled for 1:20 p.m. ET.

Bryan Hoch is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.