Notes: Bannister placed on DL

Notes: Bannister placed on DL

ATLANTA -- Personnel problems in the game, baseball executives often say, have a way of solving themselves. So it was Friday that the Mets learned rookie pitcher Brian Bannister required assignment to the disabled list because of the hamstring strain he suffered Wednesday. And later, they learned Carlos Beltran still didn't feel up to playing because of his hamstring strain.

But in between the club had used one problem to solve another before It happened, promoting Victor Diaz from its Triple-A Norfolk affiliate to provide Willie Randolph a full complement of position players while not affecting the pitching staff.

Diaz was recalled after an unproductive 11 days in the Minor Leagues, during which he batted .188 in 32 at-bats. He wasn't in the lineup Friday when the Mets played the Braves. Endy Chavez was in center field as he had been in all but one game since Beltran strained his right hamstring April 15.

But Diaz was on the bench, giving Randolph 14 position players as he had when the season began and until Diaz's April 17 demotion.

How long Diaz remains with the big league was a question with no answer Friday because, without Bannsiter, the Mets need a starting pitcher for their Tuesday night game against the Nationals. They may be forced to option Diaz again to accommodate Bannister's replacement on the Major League roster.

Randolph dismissed the possibility of using Darren Oliver, a starter through most of his career, because to do so would disrupt the bullpen two days before, three days after and during the day of the start.

A promotion from Triple-A staff will be needed. General manager Omar Minaya likes John Maine, the pitcher the Mets obtained with Jorge Julio in the Kris Benson trade. Maine is on the 40-player roster; fellow Tides Jeremi Gonzalez and Jose Lima are not. Maine gained his first victory Wednesday, pitching seven innings and allowing five hits and a walk against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

He has a 1-3 record and 2.63 ERA in four starts. The Tides had scored one run in each loss.

Randolph said Gonzalez and Lima are possibilities as well.

Beltran eyeing return: Beltran said after the game Friday that Thursday, the off-day, was the first day he was pain-free. But when he chased fly balls in the outfield before the game, he felt tightness and pain and had doubts. He expects to participate in an early workout Saturday, running the bases. And if he feels he can run without compromising his ability or putting himself at risk, he will play Saturday night.

Peace is at hand: At long last, we have Tommy-John peace. Tom Glavine and his former general manager John Schuerholz spoke face to face Friday night for the first time since early in Spring Training when excerpts from Schuerholz's book, "Built to Win," irritated the Mets' pitcher.

They had a quite brief exchange, little more than Glavine saying "I'll call ya." But before that, Schuerholz had said, "We've left a lot of very nice [telephone] messages for reach other."

After they had spoken, Glavine commented on Schuerholz's tie, a brilliant combination of magenta -- primarily -- gold, olive green, orange and blue. Two stripes of blue -- very much a familiar blue -- were on either side of each orange stripe, giving the tie a touch of Mets.

And Schuerholz didn't deny it. "It's my peace offering to the Mets," he said. "Some Mets."

From the mouths of babes: Billy Wagner called home Wednesday as the Mets were bussing from downtown San Francisco to the airport following their 9-7 victory against the Giants, a victory made more difficult when Barry Bonds hit a two-out ninth-inning home run against Wagner.

When 7-year-old Billy spoke, according to his father, he said, "Dad, you really pitched great."

"It made me feel a lot better," Wagner said as he told the story Friday. But then his younger son, Jeremy, spoke. "That's when I was convinced my wife had told them to say something nice," Wagner said. "Cause Jeremy gets on, and he says, 'Yeah, dad, you pitched great. ... But did you see that home run Barry hit?"'

Iriki suspended: Major League Baseball suspended Mets Minor League pitcher Yusaku Iriki 50 games, effective Friday, for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance in violation of Major League Baseball's joint drug policy. Iriki, 33, began the season with the Triple-A Norfolk affiliate and was removed from the 40-man roster April 17 when the club designated him for assignment. When he cleared waivers, he was signed assigned to the Norfolk roster.

Iriki's performance didn't suggest enhancement. He had a 1-2 record and 3.74 ERA in four starts. He has allowed 31 baserunners in 21 2/3 innings.

In a prepared statement released here Friday, the Mets said they are "obviously disappointed that a member of pour organization has tested positive" and they are "fully supportive of the MLB policy."

This date in Mets history -- April 29: The '62 Mets finished 80 games under .500. On this date, they already were 10 under after merely 13 games.

In one of the more bizarre games the Mets played in their first five seasons, they defeated the Pirates, 5-2, in 11 innings at Forbes Field. The Mets, who allowed a run in the bottom of the inning, scored four times in the 11th on three walks, a wild pitch, a passed ball and two singles -- all after two outs.

The Mets defeated the Cardinals, 7-0, in St. Louis on April 29, 1971. Nolan Ryan and Danny Frisella combined on a three-hitter. Ryan walked eight in six innings.

Five years later, Tom Seaver allowed five baserunners -- all on singles -- and struck out nine in shutting out the Braves at Shea. Neither team has an extra-base hit in the Mets' 2-0 victory.

The Mets amassed 23 hits, nine in the 3 2/3 innings pitched by Masato Yoshii, in their 13-6 victory at Coors Field on April 29, 2000. Their 23 hits, and four each by Edgardo Alfonzo and Todd Pratt, equaled a club record established in 1964.

Coming up: Former Brave Tom Glavine will face one-time Met John Thomson on Saturday at Turner Field. Glavine, so effective in his first loss -- to the Braves on April 19 -- lost to the Giants on April 24 in San Francisco. But he still is pitching well.

He has allowed two earned runs in his last 17 innings against the Braves. He returns to Turner Field, where he has a 1-5 record and 7.22 ERA in seven starts as a Met.

Marty Noble is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.