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07/19/07 11:50 PM ET

Notes: Anderson glad to be back

Newly promoted veteran filling Franco's bench role

LOS ANGELES -- Marlon Anderson signed with the Mets before the 2005 season for one reason: "Because I wanted to play for Willie Randolph." Now he's back with the Mets for two reasons: "Because they wanted me, and because I wanted to play for Willie Randolph again."

Seems simple enough.

The same two reasons existed after the 2005 season, too. But a third element was introduced -- the Nationals offered Anderson a two-year contract. The Mets didn't. So Anderson's tour of Mets lasted a season. His relationship with Randolph though, had better legs. And when the Mets opened their series at Dodger Stadium on Thursday night, the relationship was this: Anderson was the starting left fielder and the No. 2 hitter. And Randolph was the guy who put him in those positions.

"He's going to help us," Randolph said with a sense of strong conviction. "He knows how to play the game, and I like how he goes about it."

Anderson takes the place of Julio Franco in uniform -- he was assigned No. 23 -- and on the bench. Franco, who re-upped with the Braves on Wednesday, had been released by the Mets to accommodate Sandy Alomar Jr. on the roster, Alomar's presence allows the Mets to use Ramon Castro more often in the role Franco had filled -- right-handed pinch-hitter.

Although he started on Thursday night, Anderson was re-signed to serve primarily as a reserve, in the infield and outfield, and to be the primary left-handed-hitting pinch-hitter. In the latter regard, he has replaced -- actually, he displaced -- David Newhan, who was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans for the second time in five weeks.

"It's easy to come back. It's cool," Anderson said.

The return of Moises Alou -- not likely until sometime next week, general manager Omar Minaya said on Thursday -- will make Anderson a reserve or, at best, something of a bit-player in left. But there will be no platoon with Alou. Anderson might start against the occasional right-handed pitcher, but only if it were a day game following a night game, or if Alou required rest.

Anderson, 33, was released by the Dodgers on July 9 and signed a Minor League contract with the Mets three days later. He played six games with New Orleans, playing second base and left field and batting second or third. He batted .269 in 23 at-bats.

He had appeared in 123 games with the Mets in 2005, and batted .264 (with nine doubles, seven home runs, 19 RBIs and 31 runs in 235 at-bats. He batted .321 as a pinch-hitter. He had 17 hits in his first 39 at-bats (.436), but he had only one in his final 17 (.059) He batted .250 (19-for-76) as a pinch-hitter over the last two seasons with the Nationals and Dodgers.

In 23 games with the Dodgers this season, he batted .231 with two RBIs in 26 at-bats. He was assigned to the disabled list on May 6 because of soreness in his right elbow and underwent surgery five days later. He had undergone surgery on the same elbow in October.

"So this is the start of the season for me," Anderson said.

This date in Mets history -- July 20: Ron Swoboda's leadoff home run in the 10th inning was decisive blow in the Mets' 3-2 victory against the Giants at Candlestick Park on this date in 1966. ... The Mets' vaunted rotation in shambles because of injuries, the '87 club won the first big-league start made by veteran Don Schultz on this date, beating the Braves, 9-2, at Shea Stadium. Schultz won that start and none of his three others. Also starting for the Mets in 1987 were Terry Leach (7-1 in 12 starts), John Candelaria (2-0 in three starts), Tom Edens (two no-decisions in two starts), John Mitchell (3-6 in 19 starts) and Jeff Innis (a no-decision in his only big league start). ... Todd Hundley drove in five runs with four hits, two of them home runs, in the Mets' 10-1 victory against the Reds at Shea on July 20, 1997. ... Doubles by Xavier Nady, Endy Chavez and Carlos Beltran produced the final run in the Mets' 4-2, 11-inning victory against the Reds in the Great American Ball Park on this date last summer.

Coming up: Oliver Perez and Brett Tomko are the starting pitchers Friday night in a 10:40 p.m. ET contest against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.

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