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Notes: Henderson still wants to play

Notes: Henderson still wants to play

NEW YORK -- The shortage of healthy outfielders has been conspicuous for weeks. Moises Alou, Shawn Green and Endy Chavez have missed significant time, and Lastings Milledge, who might have been a suitable replacement, has missed more time than any of them, albeit Minor League time.

One of those who noticed -- with keen interest -- is an outfielder by trade who believes he still could help, even though he made his big-league debut on June 24, 1979, one day short of 28 years ago. And wouldn't Rickey Henderson just love to play against the A's on Sunday?

"That would be what I want," Henderson said on Saturday. "Where's [general manager] Omar [Minaya]?"

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Henderson had four tours of duty with the A's, his first big-league team. Why not have an at-bat or two against them and then call it a career?

Henderson, in town this week serving in his role as special instructor, was daydreaming about it the other day. He had just been outfitted with a replacement pair of uniform pants that fit his still massive thighs better, and his sinuses had cleared. And though he's closing in on 50 -- he turns 49 in six months -- and his last at-bats came in 2003, he thought about a return.

"I never say, 'No,' " he said. "I could score some Rickey runs for them."

Do it again: The Mets played the shortest game of their season, two hours and 11 minutes, on Friday night, one day after the longest day -- in terms of daylight hours -- of the year. And they won. Perhaps they are the Boys of Summer of today.

It should be noted that the recorded overture played at Shea before the Mets shut down the team from California -- albeit northern California -- was the work of the other Boys of Summer, the Beach Boys. Fun, fun, fun.

David Newman, the Mets' senior vice president of marketing, said that the Beach Boys music would last as long as the winning did. Wouldn't it be nice? He was hoping for all summer long. But God only knows.

Coming back: Dave Williams, the left-handed pitcher the Mets once thought might be their long reliever, has reached a significant point in his rehab from January surgery to repair a herniated disc in his neck -- he is pitching again. Williams made his first appearance in a game on Friday night, starting for the Mets' St. Lucie affiliate in the Florida State League. He pitched five innings against Vero Beach.

Nice touch: A's manager Bob Geren had Mike Piazza take the lineup card to the plate on Saturday night. Piazza, warmly received, waved his cap several times and seemed quite touched by the reception.

"I appreciate Bob giving me the opportunity [to bring out the lineup card]," said Piazza. "It was a cool idea. I didn't really think I would be received that well, but it was great. It was really cool. It's just really flattering, and I'm honored to be welcomed back here."

Heating up: Carlos Beltran has four singles, a home run and three RBIs in his last two games.

"He's looking better at the plate. It's just a matter of time," manager Willie Randolph said. "He took a nice little dip, from around .300 to where he is, .270 or whatever, so obviously he struggled a little bit, but hopefully he's on the upswing right now."

Cleaning up: David Wright is batting .448 in his last 22 games. His season average is up to .286.

"David's swinging the bat relatively well, and to me, obviously, it's not a drastic change," Randolph said. "I just like the way things are going now [with Wright batting fourth and Carlos Delgado fifth]. I like the balance that we have.

"I'm not looking at Carlos and waiting for some light to go off or for some telltale sign. He's swinging a little bit better. He's still going to be in the mix, and to me, before the fifth, you're still in the mix. He doesn't have to show me anything until I go, 'OK, now you're back in the fourth spot.' If David doesn't look as comfortable to me, then I'll flip-flop them or whatever. I just like the way it looks to me. I like the way it feels."

This date in Mets history, June 24: In 1971, Tom Seaver pitched a complete game and provided the decisive run with a home run in the eighth inning of the Mets' 2-1 victory over the Expos at Parc Jarry. Seaver, in the middle of his second 20-victory season -- he finished with a 20-10 record and league-leading 1.76 ERA -- allowed four singles and a double, walked none and struck out nine.

The career of Dwight Gooden came to an unceremonious and unexpected end on this date in 1994, though no one knew it at the time. Gooden allowed eight earned runs for the second time in his career -- the first time was a month into his rookie season -- in a 9-4 loss to the Pirates at Shea Stadium. He had already had tested positive for drugs and, three days later, was suspended for the remainder of the season.

Coming up: Still quite intent on playing an American League team in October, the Mets say "see ya later" to their American League brethren after they play the A's in their final Interleague game of the season on Sunday at 1:10 p.m. ET. The pitching matchup sounds something out of 1960s New England -- Joe Kennedy versus John Maine.

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

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