Mets general manager Omar Minaya acknowledged on Sunday morning that a minor fracture of a bone in the ankle could be the cause of the pain and swelling Alou began to experience on Friday, the morning after he had played in a Florida State League game for the first time. He said Alou's ankle is to be examined via an MRI test on Monday in Manhattan.
The latest medical episode involving the 41-year-old outfielder came to light Sunday during a rather odd news briefing by Minaya outside the team's clubhouse prior to the Mets' third weekend game against the Braves. The general manager gradually provided information about Alou, who has been assigned to the disabled list since before the end of Spring Training as he recovered from surgery to repair a hernia.
Minaya stressed that Alou wanted to play, despite the pain, on Friday and Saturday, but that the club had opted to be cautious. The possibility of a fracture was mentioned only after Minaya had spoken of Alou's willingness to play.
The club was unsure why the ankle had swelled, Minaya said, and whether Alou had injured it recently or whether the swelling developed for a different reason. People have been known to develop swelling in ankles that have been injured years earlier. The left ankle is the one Alou seriously injured in a grotesque mishap while running the bases in St. Louis in 1993. He suffered a broken bone and a dislocated ankle when his spikes caught on the artificial surface.
Minaya acknowledged Alou was perhaps days away from returning to big league duty before the latest malady developed.
As recently as Friday afternoon, the club had said a slight chance existed that Alou and Brian Schneider would return to the lineup on Monday. But Schneider now is to remain hospitalized until Monday because of an infection in his left thumb, an infection of unknown origin the Mets have said. The club has not said what kind of infection it is, but it didn't agree when Willie Randolph identified it as a staph infection.
Minaya said Schneider now may need two more days off after not playing on Monday.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.