PHILADELPHIA -- Compassion comes in small and infrequent doses in a baseball clubhouse. So it was Sunday when Ryan Church passed by the locker of Brian Schneider and noticed the wrap on the right forearm of the Mets catcher. Schneider had taken a foul tip flush on the forearm in the ninth inning Saturday, prompting postgame X-rays, icing and concern.
Not broken but badly bruised was the diagnosis, so badly bruised that Schneider was absent from the lineup Sunday night when the Mets played the final game of their three-game series against the Phillies.
Church wanted to know more about the injury to his buddy, so he inquired: "Is this where it hurts?" he said. And he poked it. It was the sorest point on any Mets' body, and Church poked it like Earl Weaver used to poke Ron Luciano's chest protector.
That was the sign that everything would be all right with the Mets catcher, if not by Monday, then by Tuesday.
Schneider fully intends to catch Monday when the Mets play the Cubs in Chicago. In fact, when the Mets asked him whether he could catch in an emergency Sunday, he said he could. Consequently, the club made no move to protect itself against an ingame injury to Schneider's understudy, Raul Casanova.
If Casanova were to become baseball-incapacitated, what then? "Here we go!" was Schneider's response.
The foul ball that struck Schneider with such force was the result of a collaboration of skills -- a fastball from Billy Wagner, measured at 97 miles per hour by Citizens Bank radar, and swing of Chase Utley that only sped up the ball before it struck Schneider.
Catchers try not to rub and are reluctant to acknowledge injury. Moreover, they are hit, nicked, bruised and generally battered so regularly that they lose track of all the incidents. But Schneider was sure of this: This bruise makes his forearm injury hall of fame.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.