Despite the injury, Capuano dominated, allowing five hits and only letting four Oakland runners reach scoring position against him. Capuano, who earned the victory, walked off the field after the last out of the sixth inning -- a popup by veteran infielder Mark Ellis -- and didn't return for the seventh.
Manager Terry Collins said that pitching coach Dan Warthen was always aware of Capuano's condition, and he also said that the pitcher had lobbied to stay in the game as long as possible. Warthen spoke with Capuano between innings, and Collins made the executive decision that the hurler had done enough.
"You guys know this guy. Nobody's in better shape," said Collins. "He's one of those five-percent body fat guys. The last thing we needed was to send him out there dehydrated and have him pull something."
The left-hander was rarely challenged on Thursday, and he worked out of a bases-loaded jam with two outs in the fourth inning. Capuano, who missed all of 2008 and '09 while battling an elbow ailment, is expected to make his next rotation turn, and he said he understood why the Mets treated him so carefully.
"I think they just wanted to be cautious with it," he said. "As a pitcher, you never want to come out of the game. I think it's smart. I have an extra day before my next start. Let's nip it in the bud and get rid of it."
New York has been without staff ace Johan Santana all season as the left-hander attempts to return from a shoulder injury, and the Mets also lost Chris Young to a shoulder injury back in May.
Capuano said that he watched the end of Wednesday's extra-inning game from his bedroom, and that he had considered coming back to Citi Field in case the Mets needed him as a pinch-runner. He felt fine, he said, until the rain delay forced him to alter his pregame routine on Thursday.
"It's a balancing act," he said. "You don't want to just ride the [exercise] bike the whole time, because you don't know how long the delay is going to be. At the same time, you don't want to get cold and get out there without being warm. You try to stay warm, you try to stay relaxed, and I think that cramp was a result of that."