LOS ANGELES -- When Carlos Delgado says he's trying to fine-tune his hitting stroke by focusing on a "strong visual," it's tempting to assume he's been sitting bleary-eyed in front of a video screen. Turns out, Delgado's main source of feedback is anything but that. The "strong visual" he's talking about is more of a mantra: "Quick hands, quick hands. Lately I've been using too much body, not enough hands, not getting them out in front." During Delgado's recent (read: current) slump, he said, he's relied mainly on teammates Julio Franco and Carlos Beltran for a portrait of himself in the batter's box.
"They see you all the time at real speed," Delgado said before Tuesday night's game with the Dodgers. "With tape, you might not find what you're looking for." Following his 2-for-4 performance in Monday night's 4-1 win over L.A., which included a two-run homer in the first inning, Delgado said, "I've seen some guys go in and look at tape after every at-bat. Information is important, but you've got to be able to clear it. If you're going to the tape and you see something that works, it's good information." Manager Willie Randolph isn't about to call Monday night's game the turning point. "Obviously, Carlos knows his mechanics better than anyone," Randolph said. "Until I've seen consistency over three or four games, I'm not going to pronounce anybody out of a slump. He could get four hits in two games, then go hitless in 20 at-bats." Monday night, Delgado praised the atmosphere in the Mets clubhouse, saying, "This is the thing about this team. We can talk to each other, help each other, and in the long run that's going to help." Especially when Franco and Beltran start dogging him. "They said I was [bad]," Delgado said with a laugh. "No, that's not what they said. They said I was drifting, and that's why I was [bad]. And I can live with that." Drifting, Delgado explained Tuesday, amounts to transferring your weight from your back foot to your front foot too quickly.
"When you're doing that and not actually pivoting," he said, "you can't generate bat speed."Randolph, despite his caution, did say, "I do not worry about him. Carlos is as solid as any hitter I've been around. There's no frustration, no urgency. He's confident that it's just a matter of time. You can see it in his body language." In spoken language, Delgado's outlook is equally relaxed: "You never forget how to hit, or how to play, overnight." Wagnerian opera: Randolph and the Mets media corps in their pregame conversation reprised a topic that was bound to re-surface following the manager's decision on Monday night to stick with submariner Chad Bradford with a 4-1 lead in the ninth inning, rather than bring in closer Billy Wagner, who was warmed up and said afterward he was eager to go. "You come from the school that says if you have a save situation, you have to go with your closer," Randolph told one reporter. "I don't." Randolph revisited the contention he made in his postgame remarks, i.e., Bradford's down-low delivery was unfamiliar to the Dodgers hittes coming up, and Randolph saw it as an opportunity to win the game and economize on his beleaguered bullpen at the outset of a long road trip. "It comes back to me doing what I have to do with 25 guys," he said. "You try to win the game, and also be conscious of making sure those guys are ready for the long haul." On it went, as Randolph was pressed to consider his closer's expressed desire to get Monday night's save. "Yesterday, I tried to stay away from [Duaner] Sanchez and [Aaron] Heilman and thought, 'If I can stay away from Billy, that's even better,'" Randolph said. "Every once in a while I get it right. It's easy to go to a player when he's hot, then come back to me after we've won the ballgame. I'm not trying to go with any shape or form. I understand what a save means and that closers like saves. I did a good thing for Bradford. He's part of this team. Good going. We should be happy for him." Reyes rests: Starting shortstop and leadoff man Jose Reyes was kept out of the lineup on Tuesday night because of soreness in his right wrist. Reyes experienced difficulty during his last at-bat on Monday night. X-rays proved negative, and Reyes is listed as day-to-day. Chris Woodward started in his place. Coming up: The Mets send their winningest starter, lefty Tom Glavine (8-2, 2.59) against Dodgers left-hander Odalis Perez (4-1, 6.05) in Wednesday night's series finale.
Ted Brock is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.