Mets Notebook: Floyd's NLCS decision upcoming
Cliff Floyd injured his Achilles in Game 3.
Cliff Floyd injured his Achilles in Game 3.
Inside Pitch Magazine
Posted Oct 10, 2006


NEW YORK – Cliff Floyd's aching left Achilles tendon will eventually need surgery, and already is well past the point where it could take any more cortisone. But will it hold up for at least four more games?

That's the question Floyd and the Mets will have to answer before 10 a.m. Wednesday, when rosters must be set for the National League Championship Series against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Floyd left Game 3 of the NL Division Series at Los Angeles after straining the tendon yet again running the bases, and the latest injury has Floyd unsure about his ability to patrol the outfield.

Floyd worked out at Shea Stadium on Tuesday, fielding balls hit to left field by coach Jerry Manuel and tossing relays to manager Willie Randolph. The exercise had Floyd saying he felt just "all right," leaving open the possibility that he could be replaced on the NLCS roster by Ricky Ledee or Lastings Milledge.

"It's not great," Floyd said. "It hasn't been great for a while. I'm just a little frustrated."

Randolph said that Floyd had a "nice little workout" and was swinging the bat well, but stated that a final decision on the roster would wait until Wednesday. Randolph declined to release his Game 1 roster pending Floyd's availability.

"I'm optimistic he'll be fine," Randolph said. "We won't anticipate any setbacks."

Before the workout, Floyd said the injury was "frustrating, not only for me but the team as well," and that, as is, he could see himself in a pinch-hitting role, but "if there was a DH, we wouldn't be having this discussion."

But the key is patrolling left field, and after Floyd left the third inning of the NLDS deciding game, there was concern that his season might be over.

Speaking candidly, Floyd said he was "not really confident" in his ability to bounce back from the injury, which he said feels different and more painful than his previous leg injuries.

He already had two cortisone shots in the ankle – including one during the final week of the regular season, when Floyd left the team in Washington and returned to New York – and said the shots had weakened an already impacted tendon.

"When you talk about tendons, I think they're a different story," Floyd said. "You don't know what'll hold up and what will not."

Floyd said he would try and be as honest with Mets manager Willie Randolph as possible; if Floyd does not feel as though he could play seven games in the NLCS, he said he would say so.

"They're expecting me to do every game and be ready, and rightfully so," Floyd said. "This is serious business."

"I take it at face value, what he says to me," Randolph said.

Floyd is in the final year of a four-year contract and, with Milledge – considered by some to be the organization's top prospect – waiting in the wings, his Mets future is uncertain.

Floyd acknowledged that fact yet again on Tuesday and said that he plans to have offseason surgery, but remained unsure if he would play anywhere in 2007. That would make an exclusion from the postseason roster even more crushing.

"I'm at the end of my career, not at the start," Floyd said. "I don't think y'all would want to talk to me if I wasn't able to go."

CATCH THIS: Mike DiFelice was in the Mets' clubhouse, luggage in tow, before Tuesday's workout, fueling speculation that the team will carry three catchers for the NLCS.

Backup catcher Ramon Castro did not appear in the three-game sweep of the Dodgers, and the Mets could carry 11 pitchers for the second round – neither Roberto Hernandez nor Royce Ring were used against Los Angeles.

Among situations where Hernandez in particular could have been used, Randolph opted to try and squeeze a second inning from Guillermo Mota in Game 1 and used Darren Oliver in relief in Game 3.

TOP OF THE ORDER: Shawn Green has seen enough of Jose Reyes to declare him a different type of leadoff hitter than any other player in the National League.

"With Reyes, you've got to worry about the home run, the triple, the double, the stolen base, everything," Green said. "It's almost like having a fast No. 3 hitter leading off."

Reyes said that Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina was one of the toughest backstops in the NL to run on, but said it wouldn't curtail him in a stealing situation.

"Nothing's going to slow me down when I have the green light," Reyes said.

LOOKING AHEAD: The Mets will see Jeff Weaver in Game 1 Wednesday night, but the Mets have already started to think about two of Weaver's teammates – slugger Albert Pujols and ace Chris Carpenter, who may be the best at their respective jobs in the National League.

Still, the Mets insisted, those are just two of the 25 Redbirds they'll need to defeat, and Carpenter may be put off until Game 3. Pujols, naturally, will be dead center facing Mets pitching, and Carlos Delgado was among those hoping to see catcher Paul Lo Duca waving four fingers much of the time.

"I think he's one of the best hitters in the game," Carlos Delgado said, "and hopefully we won't pitch to him and let him do it against us. If he leads the series in walks, that's not a problem. We've got to be smart and try not to let him beat us."

David Wright said the awesome power of Pujols could change the outcome of one contest, but it might not be enough to swing the entire NLCS.

"He can definitely go out there and take over a game," Wright said. "To go out there and take over a seven game series, that's pretty tough. But I wouldn't put it past him."

At the same time, Mets pitchers seemed to be up to the challenge. No one particularly wants to see Pujols in a game-changing situation, but they wouldn't shy away, either.

"You have to be careful," Aaron Heilman said. "You can't just throw a pitch down the middle when you're behind (in the count). At the same time, you have to go after him. I think it's a good strategy – when in doubt, be aggressive."


Contact Inside Pitch's Bryan Hoch at metsinsidepitch@aol.com.


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