Mets Notebook: Floyd up against lefty

NEW YORK – Cliff Floyd wanted into the lineup on Thursday, make no mistake about it, and he wasn't arguing when Willie Randolph slotted him in as the Mets' sixth hitter.

But he wasn't about to demand it, either – not with a left-hander on the mound in Hong-Chih Kuo, and certainly not given Floyd's own trying season.

Floyd homered in Wednesday's Game 1, which he hopes will help erase the leftover feelings of a disappointing and injury-plagued year.

"It felt real good to help the team," Floyd said. "I've been working on my swing a lot. Hopefully I can continue to help us even more. The big thing for me is just staying healthy."

Randolph elected to use Floyd – who batted .179 against southpaws this year – in left field for Thursday's contest, playing Endy Chavez in right field. Shawn Green was instead put on the bench.

Quizzed about the move before Thursday's game, Randolph declined to say the assignment was a reward for Floyd's home run off Derek Lowe Wednesday, instead saying only that the opportunity was right to put Chavez in the lineup.

"It's not rocket science," Randolph said. "It's just basically I feel like when you have that on your team, that contributor plays well [and] you sometimes feel like this is the best matchup or the best feel for the game on that particular day."

Floyd said he wasn't surprised by the assignment, but he wasn't exactly expecting it, either.

"I just come to the park ready to play, and if I'm playing, I'm playing," Floyd said. "If I would have hit 35 home runs and 100-some RBIs this year, maybe I would have had some leeway to say I'm playing regardless or whatever.

"But I didn't have that option. Deal with what you've got. I got here today and he told me I was playing. That's it."

SWITCHING SIDES?: Dodgers infielder Julio Lugo was asked about the possibility of the Mets having interest in acquiring his services after the season, likely as a second baseman.

The 30-year-old has been a subject of rumored talks including the Mets as recently as this past July, and he seemed receptive to the idea, claiming to have been a Mets fan growing up in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

"It's nice to know that people want you out there," Lugo said, "but I'm one of the type of guys who until anything happens, I try to stay away. I'm grateful for them to be interested."

Lugo attended Fort Hamilton High School in Bensonhurst and named Howard Johnson as his favorite Met growing up. He also said certain aspects of the New York attitude appealed to him.

"The East Coast, the people are more aggressive, more into it, they know a lot about baseball," Lugo said. "In L.A., they're a little more laid back, but they're great over there too."

UNDECIDED: Randolph said the Mets still have not decided on the sequence in which they would use Steve Trachsel and Oliver Perez at Los Angeles, though multiple people said the arrangement would likely depend on the outcome of Thursday's game.

If the Mets defeat the Dodgers and go up 2-0 in the series, Perez would be a smart bet to pitch Game 3; a Mets loss could put Trachsel on the hill in the hopes of getting the Mets' series advantage back.

"We'll see where we're at the end of the game," Randolph said. "Steve has been getting some work in. I'll see how he feels physically."

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