Notes: Injured Mets inch closer to return

Notes: Injured Mets inch closer to return

NEW YORK -- On a day that saw the Mets swallow a sizeable dose of bad news, overlooking the good could have been easy.

But there was indeed plenty of good for the injury-riddled Mets, despite their having to place yet another regular -- this time right fielder Shawn Green -- on the disabled list.

Mets team physician Straun Coleman had a busy day, examining injuries to outfielders Carlos Gomez and Moises Alou, as well as second baseman Jose Valentin. Largely, that news was all encouraging, with every member of the injury club one step closer to returning.

Gomez received the best news, with an MRI showing just a low-grade strain of his left hamstring. The speedy 21-year-old was cleared to play and was put in the starting lineup on Tuesday after boasting that he could move with "no limitation."

"Obviously, it was something very minor, very light," said Mets manager Willie Randolph. "The way he runs, it can be just hitting the bag hard, and you can just pull it or pop it. That's why it's always best to wait until after it calms down, get some ice on it and let it kind of simmer for a bit, and then you know."

The man he replaced, Alou, was significantly better as well. Although he missed his return target of Tuesday -- the first day he was eligible to return from the disabled list -- Alou received good news when an ultrasound treatment found no fluid in his strained left quadriceps.

The left fielder is now once again day-to-day, and could be activated by the weekend or early next week. Still, with Gomez and Endy Chavez both playing well in his wake, Mets general manager Omar Minaya said he was in no hurry to toss the 40-year-old Alou back into the fray.

"We're taking a cautious road with Mo, and I think Mo himself has bought into being cautious," Minaya said. "There's no reason to rush him."

Even Valentin, whose initial prognosis last month was dreariest of all, is ready to begin his Minor League rehab assignment. Doctors cleared the second baseman to begin playing with a brace, and he will join Class A St. Lucie on Wednesday.

"He's going to go out and play games," Minaya said. "I'm guessing that somewhere within a week's time, he should be back with the club."

Relief coming: While the Mets lineup flounders with injuries, the already-strong bullpen is about to receive another boost.

The Mets recalled suspended reliever Guillermo Mota from Triple-A after Tuesday's game, the 50th and final game of his penalty for performance-enhancing substances. Mota took the roster spot of reliever Ambiorix Burgos, whom the team optioned back to Triple-A following the game.

The hard-throwing Mota had been working his way into game shape with New Orleans, compiling a 7.04 ERA in 7 2/3 innings. And though his struggles might make Randolph tread carefully with the right-hander early on, he could quickly join Joe Smith and Pedro Feliciano as another late-inning cog.

"I'll go to him when I see fit," Randolph said. "I heard he's been throwing the ball pretty well, and obviously you gauge him on Major League talent and Major League situations, but it's good to have him back."

Fellow right-hander Duaner Sanchez also had positive news on Tuesday, after doctors cleared him to lift weights with his arms -- though it's still unclear whether or not Sanchez will be healed in time to join the club this year.

Homebodies -- not quite: The Mets began a nine-game homestand on Tuesday with three games against the Giants, followed by three against the Diamondbacks and Phillies. So it would appear that the Mets are in position to prosper for a while.

Their performance at Shea Stadium thus far, however, suggests otherwise.

The Mets began Tuesday with the second-highest winning percentage in the big leagues. But their .653 mark was a by-product of their 18-7 record in road games, the best in the game and the best ever by a Mets team in its first 25 road games of a season. Their record at home was merely 14-10.

Not that 14-10 is so bad. It yields a .583 winning percentage, which is higher than the over all winning percentages of all big league teams last season except their own (.599) and the Yankees' (.599), the Twins' (.593) and the Tigers' (.586).

The Mets' home percentage last season was .617, and only the Twins' .667 mark was higher. If the Mets were to match their home percentage last season and maintain their current road percentage for the remainder of the season -- as unrealistic as that might be -- they would win 108 games, equaling the club record, established in 1986.

This date in Mets history -- May 30: The woeful '62 Mets scored six runs against Sandy Koufax on this date in 1962 and still lost by seven runs. Koufax pitched a complete game in the Dodgers' 13-6 victory in the first game of a doubleheader at the Polo Grounds. Willie Davis hit a home run of Craig Anderson in the ninth inning of the second game, and the Mets lost, 6-5. The losses were the ninth and 10th in a 17-game losing streak. The doubleheader, played on Wednesday, Memorial Day, was the Dodgers' first appearance in New York since their departure from Brooklyn following the 1957 season. ... The Mets were outscored, 21-1, in a doubleheader loss to the Pirates at Shea Stadium on this date in 1965.

After a doubleheader loss to the Expos at Shea put the team's record at 15-30, the last-place Mets dismissed Joe Frazier as manager and appointed Joe Torre as his successor on this date in 1977. The Mets won seven of Torre's first eight games.

Coming up: Tom Glavine seeks the 296th victory of his career for the second time, this time against the Giants. Barry Bonds, who hit his 745th career home run against Glavine on May 8 in San Francisco, is expected to play. The other Barry -- Zito -- starts for the Giants in the 7:10 p.m. ET game.

Anthony DiComo is a contributor to Marty Noble contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.