© 2006 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

04/01/06 4:55 PM ET

Notes: Wagner makes his return

All-Star closer excited, relieved to be back on the mound

JUPITER, Fla. -- Billy Wagner may not have been worried about his first spring appearance in two weeks. But when it was over, he was relieved.

"It's a little bit of a relief," said the Mets' closer. "It was very productive. I got some work in and I was able to do a lot of things."

Wagner has not pitched since March 18 because of stiffness in the tendon sheath in the middle finger of his left hand. He worked one inning during Saturday's 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals, allowing two two-out singles, one by Gary Bennett that fell just out of the reach of a diving Cory Aldridge in left field and an opposite-field hit by Hector Luna.

Wagner got Scott Spiezio swinging for the third out, his second strikeout of the inning.

"I knew he was fine," manager Willie Randolph said. "It was good to see him out there, good to see what the guy can do for us."

Wagner said he would be ready if he is needed to close the Mets' season opener Monday against Washington.

"I'm excited," said Wagner. "I don't know what Mets fans are expecting, but I'm excited about the team. ... I know everybody is making a big deal about how tough New York can be. I'm my toughest critic. I'll still read the papers. You can't write anything that I haven't thought about."

Wagner allowed two runs in seven innings this spring.

Zambrano status uncertain: The Mets still have not made a decision on their second starter. Victor Zambrano said he felt "pretty good" on Saturday after tweaking his left hamstring in the seventh inning Friday, but the team will not know if Zambrano or Brian Bannister will pitch Wednesday against the Nationals until Zambrano tests the leg.

Randolph said Zambrano would throw Saturday to get loose before determining if he can throw on the side. The decision, though, could wait until Monday. Zambrano said Friday he did not think the injury was severe.

"He has to feel real strong physically and throw a little bit," Randolph said. "You don't want to play around with a hamstring."

Bannister was told on Tuesday he had made the rotation and that he was scheduled to make his big-league debut in the Mets' sixth game.

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Trachsel looks sharp: Steve Trachsel tuned up for his Friday start against the Marlins by allowing four hits in five innings.

"I felt just as good as I did a few days ago, but my location was better today," Trachsel said.

Trachsel threw 64 pitches, 38 for strikes. He did not allow a walk or record a strikeout. Two baserunners were erased on double plays, including Aaron Miles, who was thrown out at home attempting to tag up by right fielder Xavier Nady.

Duaner Sanchez was credited with the win and a blown save after allowing a leadoff home run to the Cardinals' Skip Schumaker in the seventh that tied the score at 1-1. Chris Woodward singled off Braden Looper in the eighth inning to score Chase Lambin with the winning run.

Coming up: Tom Glavine will start for the Mets in Monday's season opener at Shea Stadium against Livan Hernandez of the Nationals, beginning at 1:10 p.m. ET. Jesse Orosco will throw out the ceremonial first pitch to Gary Carter to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Mets' 1986 World Series championship.

Carl Thomas is a contributor to MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.