Alou unlikely to return before homestand

Alou unlikely to return until Tuesday

SAN FRANCISCO -- On second thought ... Moises Alou now doubts he will be physically able to play on Friday, the day he becomes eligible to return to active duty. The Mets left fielder, assigned to the disabled since May 22, the day after he strained his left calf, said on Wednesday that his return could happen Saturday or Sunday while the Mets are in San Diego, but acknowledged it is more likely that he won't play until the Mets return home, when the club can take advantage of the scheduled off-day on Monday.

"The way they do things here, trying to be extra careful, it's probably going to be when we get back," Alou said as the Mets prepared to play without him for the 46th time in 58 games."

He had expected to be reinstated on Friday until the muscle tightened while he was running in New York on Sunday. He immediately reduced the strain in the legs, but changed his outlook. His leg felt better on Tuesday and Wednesday, but the off-day on Monday is likely to prompt the club to extend his assignment -- and the big league tour of rookie Nick Evans -- until Tuesday.

With Alou unavailable, the Mets started an outfield of, from left to right, Fernando Tatis, Carlos Beltran and Endy Chavez against the Giants on Wednesday. Ryan Church asked for a day off "to get his legs back under him." He was abnormally fatigued before the game on Tuesday night and with limited opportunity to rest overnight, he told Willie Randolph he needed a break. Church said his fatigue was not linked to the concussion that forced him to miss recent games.

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