Carlos Beltran's stomach was covered with several tiny black X's on Friday night, visual markers of where the pain of his strained abdominal muscle was greatest.
Beltran wasn't expecting to play in either half of Saturday's doubleheader against Washington, and didn't rule out sitting out Sunday as well. He rode a stationary bicycle and worked with a medicine ball on Friday, and said he would attempt to do the rotational exercises on Saturday that the strain prevented him from performing the day before.
Mets manager Willie Randolph said that with an off-day on Monday, he could be more inclined to sit his slugger until then, effectively giving him a free day of rest.
"Whenever the guys get hurt, I don't go to them and put pressure on them," Randolph said. "Sometimes that can work adversely for you because I'm asking him every day to play. I'm trusting my training staff."
The Mets haven't established any hard timetable for his return, but also didn't place him on the disabled list when Moises Alou's return from injury on Friday gave them a prime opportunity to do just that. Beltran, for his part, said he's not worried, because the medical staff hasn't requested any tests or an MRI. For now, he remains day-to-day.
"I'm targeting when I feel good," Beltran said. "I can't say a day."
Alou all out: Alou reported no pain after his season began anew on Friday night, though nothing was perfect. Alou estimated his strained left quad at 90-95 percent, and his right shoulder -- weakened by tendinitis -- at 75-80 percent.
Alou hadn't taken any pain killers on Friday, but still felt fine afterwards -- even after tumbling to the ground in pursuit of one of Washington's four second-inning doubles. He waited a few moments to check the pain in his shoulder after that spill, not wanting to alert the medical staff.
"I didn't want Ray [Ramirez] the trainer and Willie to be looking at me all concerned, but I did a little bit without them noticing," Alou laughed. "It felt good."
The Mets, of course, are well aware that by activating Alou, they've summoned a player that simply won't pay any heed to his current weaknesses. Alou's the first to admit it, and he couldn't change if he tried.
"I can't," Alou said. "I wish I could, but I hate to see a ball land right in front of me. That's my game."
New threads: Alyssa Milano was on hand for Saturday's doubleheader to promote her new clothing line, "Touch," in conjunction with Major League Baseball. Milano made a personal appearance in the team shop at Shea, where 10 percent of all proceeds from the clothing line were donated to the Mets Foundation.
And while the sight of Milano, a die-hard Dodgers fan, might give the Shea faithful some mixed feelings, she did her best to erase them.
"I didn't come here to root against the Mets," she said with a laugh.
Back to the farm: The Mets optioned second baseman Anderson Hernandez back to Triple-A New Orleans after the first game of Saturday's doubleheader, clearing roster space for Mike Pelfrey to start the nightcap.
Hernandez earned his first hit of the year in the day game, a pinch-hit single in the eighth. That came in just his second at-bat since the Mets recalled him last week.
Pelfrey, in turn, was optioned right back to Triple-A after the start. The Mets will make a corresponding roster move before Sunday's series finale, and will likely recall catcher Mike DiFelice to avoid playing the contest with a single catcher.
This date in Mets history -- July 29: Mark Bomback, who produced 16 victories in 34 big league decisions, won 10 times in 1980, his lone season with the Mets. One of those victories came on this date that year. "Boom Boom" Bomback (7 1/3 innings) and Neil Allen combined to pitch a six-hitter in the Mets' 2-1 victory at Shea Stadium. Bomback finished the season with a 10-8 record. The only other Mets pitcher to win as many as eight games was Jeff Reardon, who never started. Reardon (8-7) and Tom Hausman (6-5) were the only other pitchers with winning records for the 65-97, fifth-place Mets.
Rookie Jamie Moyer allowed one run in 7 2/3 innings in his sixth big-league start on this date in 1986. He was the winning pitcher in the Mets' 2-1 loss to the Cubs in the second game of a doubleheader at Shea. Rookie Rick Anderson, now the Twins pitching coach, pitched the first six innings for the Mets -- it was his fifth big-league appearance and second start -- and also allowed one run. Doug Sisk was the losing pitcher because of an unearned run. Ron Darling had pitched a six-hitter in the Mets' 3-0 victory in the first game. The Mets finished the day 16 1/2 games ahead of the second-place Expos.
Pete Harnisch pitched one shutout in his 54-start tour with the Mets, and it happened on this date in 1996. Harnisch allowed a walk and four singles in the Mets' 5-0 victory against the Pirates at Shea. Butch Huskey hit two solo home runs. Harnisch's was one of three Mets shutouts that year.
Coming up: John Maine shoots for his team-leading 12th win on Sunday afternoon, with a chance to again dip his ERA back down below three. He'll start opposite Washington's Billy Traber in the 1:10 p.m. ET series finale.
Anthony DiComo is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less