09/24/07 7:40 PM ET
Notes: Beltran playing through pain
All-Star does not plan to miss time despite knee troubles
By Anthony DiComo / MLB.com
But they have to get there first.
That means that until the Mets' magic number melts down to zero, injuries just don't matter. Carlos Beltran's knees, specifically, won't be keeping him out of any games unless his condition worsens.
"Some guys have different tolerances for pain," manager Willie Randolph said. "The only way he would be given a day is if he felt like he couldn't go."
Beltran's tendinitis has caused plenty of grimace, but the center fielder says -- even though "basically everything" hurts -- that he won't cave and take an off-day until the Mets clinch. He'd love to use plenty of vacation days between now and the playoffs, but thanks to his team's recent mediocrity, that just won't happen.
"There's some players that like to win, and there's some others that don't care," Beltran said. "I care. I want to win. I want to be out there."
Beltran said the tendinitis in his left knee, which caused him to leave Sunday's game early, felt better on Monday. He received ice treatments on the plane ride back to New York and again after he landed, though Randolph said he would consider replacing his center fielder on defense if the situation warranted it.
That's precisely the problem. Defense, Beltran said, hurts more than hitting due to the fact that he often moves on instinct.
"If I have to jump for the ball, I can't control that," Beltran said, alluding to his collision with the Dolphin Stadium outfield wall on Sunday. "It's going to hurt."
Bootless: About the only exception to Randolph's play-through-the-pain policy is Orlando Hernandez, who remains in limbo with a bunion on his right foot.
El Duque removed his protective boot from that foot on Monday, and said he felt no pain after throwing off flat ground. If he feels just as well on Tuesday, he'll throw a bullpen session in an attempt to make one last start before the season's end.
"I think about today," El Duque said. "I'm waiting for tomorrow. That's it."
He's not the only one looking forward to tomorrow. Randolph said he's anxious to see El Duque in action before the end of the season -- especially when he's drawing up his postseason rotation.
"You want to go into the end of the season having a better feel of everyone, and how everyone fits in," Randolph said.
Back in business: Billy Wagner is the other prominent member of the Mets' injury club, and he was walking around prior to Monday's game with a hulking wrap on his back. Wagner was unavailable with back spasms for two games last week, and blew a save on Sunday in his first game back.
"For the last three or four days, he's been pretty much a gametime situation," Randolph said. "It's going to be up to how he feels. I've never had back spasms before, but obviously for a pitcher, it's not very comfortable."
Randolph wouldn't confirm Wagner's availability on Monday, saying instead he'll wait until Wagner warms and loosens during the game. If the lefty can't go, Randolph cited Aaron Heilman and Jorge Sosa as possible replacements, depending on the situation. Scott Schoeneweis looked sharp in converting two save opportunities in Florida, and would likely get the call again should the ninth stack up well for a lefty.
Age is just a number: Moises Alou's 27-game hitting streak is impressive enough. Add in the fact that he's 41 years old -- the oldest player ever to post a streak this long -- and it's more impressive still. Then realize that he's been playing through injury for basically the entire season, and the feat becomes downright remarkable.
And it might have to do with more than just Alou's lightning quick wrists. The left fielder has caught fire at a time when most other players are dragging, and that could easily be a byproduct of missing two and a half months earlier this year with a pulled left quad. While most of his teammates are approaching 600 -- and in Jose Reyes' case, 700 -- at-bats, Alou only just hit 300 on Sunday.
Randolph, for one, was quick to dismiss that line of thinking. Alou may be the most injury-prone Met, but history has shown he's been plenty good when healthy for a full season. The last time that happened was in 2004, when he hit .293 and smacked 39 homers.
"With Moises' body, I don't think that means much, really," Randolph said, "He's strong, and his problems are pretty much with injury, not being tired. That has nothing to do with it."
This and that: The Mets have scored seven runs or more in six straight games, setting a team record. "I think the players are collectively understanding the urgency of where we are," Randolph said ... Shawn Green entered Monday's play two hits shy of 2,000 for his career. ... Marlon Anderson's appeal of his two-game suspension will be heard on Wednesday.
Coming up: Tom Glavine hasn't lost since July 2, and he hasn't lost to the Nationals since a defeat exactly one year ago on Tuesday. Glavine will look to avoid repeating history in the second of three games against Washington, with Jason Bergmann starting for the Nationals in the 7:10 p.m. ET start.
Anthony DiComo is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.