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07/10/08 5:54 PM ET

Alou could need surgery on torn hammy

Outfielder might miss rest of Mets' season after rehab injury

NEW YORK -- Just shy of five months ago, Moises Alou marched into Spring Training and declared that he was in the best shape of his life. Three months later, Alou called it "embarrassing" that his run of injuries had continued. And roughly six weeks after that, the inevitability of Alou's situation came screaming back into focus.

Testing on Thursday morning revealed that Alou has a torn left hamstring, and the Mets are recommending surgery for their starting left fielder. Alou must make a decision, and in either case, he will likely miss the remainder of the season.

"The reality is that he's going to be out for a very long time," general manager Omar Minaya said.

Alou left a rehab game with Double-A Binghamton in the seventh inning Wednesday night with what the Mets called "cramping" in his left hamstring. Alou traveled to New York City for an MRI, which revealed the tear.

Now, at 42 years old, his season is almost certainly over, and his career may also be in jeopardy.

"It's going to be tough," Minaya said. "When you tear a hamstring in the middle of July, it would be pretty tough for him to return."

Throughout his two-year tenure with the Mets, Alou had shown a remarkable ability to hit, and a remarkable inability to stay healthy. He missed 2 1/2 months last season with a strained right quad, spent the beginning of this season on the disabled list while recovering from hernia surgery and then took two more leaves of absence while recovering from a strained left calf.

When he did play, he thrived, batting .341 in 87 games last year and .347 in 15 games this season.

The Mets exercised a one-year extension on Alou's contract prior to this season. Should he sit out the rest of this year but decide against retirement, he will become a free agent at season's end.

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