Mets hope Izzy can return before season's end

Mets hope Izzy can return before season's end

ATLANTA -- Jason Isringhausen hasn't pitched since Sept. 6 because of lingering numbness in his right foot, and the veteran reliever, who turned 39 the next day, is starting to run out of time to make it back before the end of the season.

Mets manager Terry Collins, asked when he thought Isringhausen might be available, said, "I'm hoping in St. Louis."

Isringhausen, though, isn't as optimistic.

"I'm hoping for the homestand," he said.

After three games in St. Louis beginning on Tuesday, the Mets conclude the season with six games at Citi Field against the Phillies and Reds. Isringhausen's bounce-back year may have already had an early ending, though.

Given a tryout in Spring Training, Isringhausen was able to stay healthy until the final month and posted his 300th save in San Diego on Aug. 15. Only Mariano Rivera of the Yankees and the Reds' Francisco Cordero have more saves among active pitchers.

But Isringhausen, who has had to overcome numerous arm problems in his career, was sidelined by a herniated disk that is pinching the sciatic nerve and causing numbness in his right foot. He had an epidural last Monday and it was expected that he would need to rest for at least five days.

"He still has some numbness in one of his legs," Collins said. "Doctors say until that's gone, he's not pitching."

Collins, though, says that he still expects Isringhausen, who is 3-3 with seven saves and a 4.05 ERA in 53 games, back before the end of the year. The right-hander, who said he has felt better since taking stronger anti-inflammatory medication in recent days, remains hopeful.

"It had been festering for a while, so I knew it was time to take a few days off," he said.