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7/28/2014 11:21 P.M. ET

Dice-K's elbow improving, could begin throwing soon

NEW YORK -- Daisuke Matsuzaka seems to have avoided the worst.

Matsuzaka's inflamed right elbow improved markedly from Sunday to Monday, generating hope that he can begin a throwing program by the end of this week. Though Matsuzaka will not return from the disabled list when eligible on Aug. 10, initial fears of a much longer DL stay appear unfounded.

"The inflammation's down a lot," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "The medication he took is working, so he's feeling pretty good."

The Mets' most versatile pitcher, Matsuzaka holds a 3.87 ERA in nine starts and 19 relief appearances. He has started, closed, set up and pitched in long relief.

Sandy says Mets 'unlikely' to make a deal

NEW YORK -- Those dreaming of a blockbuster trade bringing superstar Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki to Flushing can keep dreaming for now. Mets general manager Sandy Alderson on Monday called it "unlikely" that the club will complete any deal before Thursday's non-waiver Trade Deadline -- Tulowitzki or otherwise.

"If I had to make a guess, I would say nothing will happen," Alderson said. "But you never know what's going to transpire in the next three days or so. Clubs that may be having conversations elsewhere circle back based on what they think their options might be. So I'd say we have an opportunity to do a thing or two, but we're not inclined to at this point. It's speculation, but I wouldn't bet on something happening before the Deadline."

Essentially, Alderson continued, the Mets are currently caught between being buyers and sellers. Entering Monday's play seven games out of a National League Wild Card spot and five games under .500, the Mets do not want to deal away any of their expendable veteran assets -- most notably starting pitcher Bartolo Colon or second baseman Daniel Murphy. But Alderson is also hesitant to trade away a significant chunk of his much-improved farm system in a blockbuster deal that may or may not be possible anyway.

"When I say it's unlikely that we'll do anything, we're not anxious to be sellers," Alderson said. "We're cautious about being buyers. But we'll see."

As for Tulowitzki specifically, rumors gained traction recently when the New York Post reported that the Mets called the Rockies to communicate their interest. But Rockies owner Dick Monfort has made it clear on multiple occasions that he does not want to trade Tulowitzki or outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, the two cornerstones of his lineup. Until that changes, a deal remains unlikely -- even if Alderson could envision dipping into his farm system to make such a blockbuster happen in the future.

"That's a possibility," Alderson said of a significant deal to add offense. "In fact, to me that sounds more desirable than inching your way there, giving up prospects in more cautious transactions. So I wouldn't rule that out. But it's got to be the right time for the right player under the right circumstances."

Sandy can't recall claim made by La Russa

NEW YORK -- Mets general manager Sandy Alderson did not recall a claim that former A's manager Tony La Russa approached him about steroid use in the Oakland clubhouse in the 1980s and '90s.

During Hall of Fame Induction weekend in Cooperstown, N.Y., La Russa told the New York Daily News that he "had suspicions" about players in Oakland "hitting stronger but not working out."

"I went to Sandy and ownership about this," La Russa told the paper. "And they told me flat off, 'Right of privacy. It's a collective bargaining issue.'"

Alderson, who served 15 years as Oakland's GM and oversaw La Russa's entire 10-year managerial tenure there, said he could not recall having that conversation.

"I've spent a lot of time thinking about those kinds of circumstances over the years ... and I have absolutely no recollection whatsoever of any such conversation," Alderson said Monday. "If you go back and look at what I've said on the record, yes, I had my suspicions. Beyond that, I'm just going to respond to what Tony had to say and we'll leave it at that."

Worth noting

• Alderson said the team will not alter rookie starter Jacob deGrom's workload for as long as he is pitching at his current level (a 0.66 ERA over his last four starts). The Mets may ultimately skip deGrom's rotation spot or even move him to the bullpen, with an eye toward keeping him under a soft limit of 185 innings. But "right now," Alderson said, "I don't think we want to interrupt the flow that he has going, the success that he's had."

• Murphy received his Heart & Hustle Award from the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association prior to Monday's game against the Phillies. By winning the Mets' Heart & Hustle Award, Murphy became eligible for the league-wide edition presented later this year.

• SNY will move its broadcast booth to Citi Field's Shea Bridge for Tuesday's game against the Phillies. Broadcasters Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling have worked outdoors three times previously at Citi Field, all from the right field Pepsi Porch.

• Left-hander Dana Eveland left Monday's 7-1 win over the Phillies with one out in the ninth inning after Ben Revere's comebacker struck his left elbow. He exited after a brief mound visit from Collins and a team trainer, but X-rays were negative.

"It hit me right on the tip of the elbow, which scared me at first," said Eveland, who broke the same elbow in high school. "I'm hoping I wake up tomorrow and it feels fine."

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