Mets getting 2008 lineup in order

Mets getting 2008 lineup in order

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- With their one and only off-day and a second morning of sleeping in behind them, the Mets play the Indians on Wednesday night. To borrow a phrase from the contentious days of George Steinbrenner and Billy Martin, these Mets ought to be "tanned and rested," not to mention healthier. Therefore, a chance -- not necessarily a likelihood -- exists that the team that starts against the Indians could also start against the Marlins on Opening Day.

If Carlos Delgado has recovered sufficiently from the forearm wound he suffered on Sunday when he was struck by a splintered piece of the bat of Brady Clark, if the Mets clear Brian Schneider (tight right hamstring) to return to active duty, if Carlos Beltran and Luis Castillo experience no residual post-surgery sensations, if Ryan Church doesn't suffer some post-concussion syndrome, if Endy Chavez, Clark or Angel Pagan aren't struck down, if nothing unforeseen befalls David Wright and Jose Reyes and if Tradition Field is standing at 7:10 p.m. ET, the Mets may have a voila moment.

Delgado and Schneider are the questions. Delgado said Sunday that a few days may be needed for the wound in his right arm to close. And though Schneider caught Orlando Hernandez in a simulated game on Tuesday morning, he suspected the trainers would want to see him run one more time to test the hammy that has limited him to merely three games of the Mets' 21, and five at-bats.

If he isn't John Maine's catcher on Wednesday night and if he doesn't take a step backwards, Schneider will catch Johan Santana on Thursday night -- another morning to sleep in -- when the Orioles are in town.

Ramon Castro probably won't be doing much in-game catching for a while. The MRI exam administered on Monday detected a strain in his right hamstring. He was Hernandez's catcher in the morning, but said he may go as late as next week before playing in an exhibition game. He, like Schneider, was urged not to run hard. Squatting behind the plate bothers neither catcher.

Schneider was mindful of the trainers' words in the morning game. He hit a double -- it looked more like a two-base triple -- and jogged to second base. He later hit a home run and showed off another slow trot. Both came against Mike Pelfrey, who was the "opposing" pitcher in El Duque's brunch start. Both came on Pelfrey's freshly minted backdoor slider which would suggest the new pitch needs to be refined.

Chances are, Pelfrey can get some advice from Schneider. "Yeah," the pitcher said. "Last week, he teaches me the pitch and today he hits one of em' out."

"Didn't want to run too hard," Schneider said. "So I worked on my power stroke."

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