Vaughn, 35, expected to report to Mets

Updated: November 22, 2003, 9:41 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

NEW YORK -- Injured New York Mets first baseman Mo Vaughn plans to join the team during spring training rather than retire, the New York Post reported Saturday.

Vaughn went on the disabled list May 3 with joint and cartilage damage in his left knee and didn't play again last season. He's been working out and wants to give playing another shot -- starting with spring training at the team's Port St. Lucie complex in February.

"It's too early to conclude anything, but Mo will do his part and report as required," agent Jeff Moorad told the newspaper.

The degenerative injury appeared to be career-threatening, but Moorad said he envisions Vaughn, who turns 36 next month, with the Mets when spring training begins.

"I can't imagine that he won't go to spring training," Moorad said. "Certainly my advice to him would be to go to spring training. Certainly I assume the club will expect him at spring training."

According to the Post, in baseball circles, it was assumed Vaughn was unofficially done, although none of the parties involved would admit it because of the insurance implications.

"He told me as long as he was consistent with his workouts, the pain was under control," Moorad told the Post. "If he slacked off those workouts, he had to endure major pain."

Calls to Vaughn and Mets general manager Jim Duquette weren't immediately returned to the paper.

Vaughn, the 1995 AL MVP while with Boston, has 326 career homers, 1,064 RBIs and a .293 batting average in 12 major league seasons. He's been slowed by injuries in recent years, including missing the entire 2001 season with a ruptured tendon in his left arm.

He hit just .190 with three homers and 15 RBI in 27 games for the Mets last year -- his second with the team.

Some of his Mets teammates were skeptical that they'd see Vaughn playing again in spring training.

"I don't expect to after what he went through last year," pitcher Tom Glavine told the newspaper. "He saw a litany of doctors, and it sounds like nobody was telling him what he wanted to hear."

Vaughn's return could create some serious problems for the Mets. The issue of All-Star catcher Mike Piazza possibly moving to first base already was looming, and it is believed the Mets were counting on collecting the insurance on Vaughn's $15 million salary next season, the Post reports. The policy covers 75 percent of Vaughn's salary.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.