Beltran expected to miss weekend series vs. Dodgers
Cameron was scheduled to be operated on in San Diego, where he is expected to remain for at least four more days. Beltran was expected to miss New York's three-game weekend series with the Los Angeles Dodgers because of a concussion and a small fracture in his cheekbone.
Both players spent Thursday night at different hospitals following their seventh-inning crash in the Mets' 2-1 loss to the Padres. Cameron and Beltran were running at full speed toward David Ross' looping fly to short right-center, and their heads hit as they left their feet to catch the ball.
Watching it again on the highlight shows didn't make it any less gruesome for their teammates.
"I didn't see it that many times, but I didn't even want to see it after that. Once was enough," manager Willie Randolph said. "I've seen a lot of different collisions -- but when you get two guys who are going straight out like that, it's scary because when they bump heads, you never know what can happen.
"My fear was that they didn't lapse into any type of seizure or coma, or whatever. It could have been a lot worse."
Cameron broke his nose, had multiple fractures of both cheekbones and a concussion. The right fielder was placed on the 15-day disabled list immediately after the game, and Victor Diaz was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk for Friday night's game. Diaz started in right field against the Dodgers and Gerald Williams took over in center for Beltran.
"We'd love to have our big boys in there, but we're going to keep playing, man," Randolph said. "This team has always stepped up this year, so I feel in my heart that we'll be OK. We'll just pick each other up and do what we've got to do to win some more ballgames. I'm very confident about that.
"There's no doubt that we're going to miss those guys. Hopefully, Beltran will get back before long, but we'll have to hold the fort until Cammy gets back."
Beltran was driving from San Diego with Mets head trainer Ray Ramirez on Friday night and was expected to be at Dodger Stadium on Saturday.
Cameron spent about 20-30 minutes on the phone with left fielder Cliff Floyd, his closest friend on the team. Floyd was emotionally spent in the moments following the collision, and was still talking about it with glassy eyes on Friday.
"He said he never saw Carlos. That's a scary thought," Floyd said. "I saw it one time and that was enough for me. It's amazing that they basically came out of it like they are. All you can do is just thank the man above.
"You always think, in baseball, nothing like this ever happens. But this goes to show you that at any second, everything can change. He told me, 'Other than my face, I'm fine.' So he'll be all right. We're in California -- and they've got the best plastic surgeons here."
Randolph also spoke to Cameron by phone and felt much better after their conversation. He even thinks his Gold Glove right fielder will be back in the lineup before the season's over.
"Cammy seemed pretty optimistic," Randolph said. "Cammy's always positive and always in good spirits, for the most part. I mean, he's banged up, but he just indicated to me that he thought he'd be back. But that's just him being positive and optimistic.
"I was concerned about his neck, but they said there's no problem with that, so I assume he was OK. Once he gets the surgery over with and the swelling goes down, he'll be fine."
The Mets' rookie manager also spoke with Beltran and was even more encouraged.
"Carlos sounded much better than yesterday," Randolph said. "He was really disoriented at the end of the game. With concussions, you have to let them calm down. That's why the next three or four days is important -- to see if there's no headaches and no vision problems.
"To put him on the DL right away would be playing it safe, obviously," Randolph added. "But it's also important that we don't rush him onto the DL because he is feeling better today. So even if he doesn't play this weekend, he might be able to go on Tuesday."
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
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