Schneider set to return to Mets

Schneider set to return to Mets

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Another day, another game and another game missed by Brian Schneider.

Now the equation reads thusly: The Mets' game against the Nationals Friday was their 24th. Schneider has played in three of them.

Both numbers are to change Saturday -- and this time for certain. Schneider and the trainers say the catcher is ready to play, even though he must endure a 2 1/2-hour bus ride to Winter Haven, Fla., for a game against the Indians.

"You do what you have to do," Schneider said. "I want to go. I need to play."

His right hamstring, tight most of the spring, didn't grab Saturday. So Schneider will play for the first time for since March 10.

He ran the bases Wednesday and Thursday. While the Mets were playing his former team Friday, Schneider served as a once-per-inning designated hitter for the Triple-A New Orleans team. After five plate appearances, he had a home run, a double, a sacrifice fly and limited hard running.

"I busted it out the box once," Schneider said. "But they said, 'Be smart,' so I took it easy."

The Mets' other Opening Day catcher, Ramon Castro, remains unable to play because of a tight right hamstring.

Now, the Mets have one less available alternative. Robinson Cancel is to undergo surgery next week after suffering a torn meniscus in his left knee before the game Thursday night. Nonetheless, he played the entire game. His will be the third surgery a Mets player will undergo this spring, preceded by Moises Alou (hernia) and Jason Vargas (left hip labrum).

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