Notes: Lo Duca unhappy with DL move

Notes: Lo Duca unhappy with DL move

NEW YORK -- One day after the Mets placed him on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring, catcher Paul Lo Duca was still not pleased about the decision that will leave him sidelined for most of the rest of August.

"It's upsetting," Lo Duca said. "I want to play. It's been a frustrating last couple of months. I want to play, and that's the bottom line."

The Mets placed Lo Duca on the DL after he reaggravated the strain in Saturday night's game against the Marlins. They recalled catcher Mike DiFelice from Triple-A New Orleans to take Lo Duca's spot on the roster.

Lo Duca hadn't yet gotten an MRI on his leg before the game, though he was planning on having one at some point on Sunday.

His problem with the decision, however, stems from the fact that the Mets wouldn't wait even until Sunday morning to make a move. Manager Willie Randolph and general manager Omar Minaya met after Saturday's game and made the decision without Lo Duca's consent.

And on Sunday morning, the catcher said that he felt fine.

"I woke up this morning and it feels absolutely great," Lo Duca said, repeatedly confirming that two weeks was plenty of time to recover.

Randolph, however, disagreed, drawing on his own history of hamstring injuries.

"There's no way of knowing that," Randolph said when asked if he thought two weeks was long enough to heal. "We have to wait and see."

In the interim, Ramon Castro will take over starting catching duties -- perhaps as an audition for a future everyday job. Lo Duca will be a free agent after this season.

"I would like to one day be the No. 1," Castro said. "But right now, I can't think about that. We're struggling right now, and we're trying to play better. That's what I'm worried about right now."

The claim game: Buyer -- or seller -- beware. The dynamics of waiver-wire deals have changed in recent years, and that's made the prospect of Minaya completing a deal this August ever slimmer.

"I'm noticing this year, there's been a lot more teams claiming guys than in years past," Minaya said. "Every year, there's more and more. At one time, nobody was getting claimed; now everybody's blocking people."

That won't stop Minaya from trying. Last year, he landed Shawn Green in a waiver deal, and Green's been starting in right field ever since. This year, the priority is pitching, and Minaya would like nothing more than to plug up a bullpen that's recently sprung quite a few leaks.

"Pitching has always been priority No. 1," Minaya said. "It's always been pitching."

The problem is that teams in recent years have been increasingly willing to take on salary, and so they're blocking more and more potential trades. To complete a waiver deal, a team must first wait for the player it wants to acquire to clear waivers. During that 10-day period, another team can claim that player, forcing the first team to either give up the player or withdraw the waiver -- essentially ending the chance for a deal. Only if no team has made a claim can the player then be freely traded to any other club.

The risk of claiming a player on waivers is that if the team who put him there chooses to let him go, the claiming team will be forced to take the player and the remainder of his contract, however large it may be. But the benefit is that by claiming that player, a team can ensure that player won't be traded to a contender. That advantage, for many, may just outweigh the potential disadvantage, and also make it more difficult for teams to complete deals beyond July.

This date in Mets history -- Aug. 13: Tom Seaver pitched a four-hit shutout against a team with three Hall of Fame players in the middle of the lineup -- Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell and Bill Mazeroski -- in the Mets' 3-0 victory against the Pirates in the first game of a doubleheader at Shea Stadium on this date in 1967. The Mets won the second game, too, scoring five times in the eighth inning. They committed four errors in the 11-9 victory that was their sixth in a 9-3 run that put them two games ahead of the 10th- and last-place Astros

An 8-2 loss in the Astrodome put the Mets 10 games behind the first-place Cubs on this date in 1969. They returned to Shea and began winning regularly. They swept doubleheaders against the Padres on Aug. 16 and 17, allowing five runs in the four games, and then went on to win 12 out of 13 games to move within 2 1/2 games of the Cubs.

The Mets scored one run for the fifth time in six games and lost, 6-1, to the Cardinals at Shea on this date in 1978. Their lone victory in the six-game sequence was a 10-3 pasting of the Expos four days earlier. They had seven extra-base hits in the one victory and five total in the five losses

Al Leiter (eight innings) and John Franco combined to two-hit the Giants at Shea Stadium on Aug. 13, 2000. The 2-0 victory put the Mets 1 1/2 games behind the first-place Braves.

Coming up: The Mets open a six-game road trip against two of the National League's worst teams, the Pirates and Nationals, with a chance to pull away from the rest of the NL East. The first game comes in Pittsburgh on Tuesday at PNC Park, with right-handers Orlando Hernandez (7-4, 3.05 ERA) and Ian Snell (7-10, 3.87) facing off in a 7:05 p.m. ET start.

Anthony DiComo is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.