Mets give veteran Lima another start

Updated: May 16, 2006, 7:41 PM ET
Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- Instead of rushing rookie Brian Bannister back from the 15-day disabled list, the New York Mets will give Jose Lima another start on Thursday.

Starting Pitcher
New York Mets

2 0 2 7 7 9.31

Manager Willie Randolph said Tuesday that Bannister, 2-0 with a 2.89 ERA, would throw on the side on Thursday and then likely will make one rehab start for Triple-A Norfolk during the weekend before returning to the rotation. Bannister has been on the disabled list since April 28 with a strained right hamstring.

Randolph said it would be a sign of "panic" to use Bannister on Thursday.

"I don't think it's fair to rush him into a situation where you can just be cautious and take your time and do what's right," Randolph said. "You can throw on the side all you want, but when you get into heated situations with the adrenaline flowing and you've got a hamstring pull, you're going to try to do more than you can maybe and run the risk of setting yourself back."

Lima is 0-2 with a 9.31 ERA, allowing 10 runs in 9 2/3 innings over two starts while filling Bannister's spot. Jeremi Gonzalez will pitch on Friday against the Yankees at Shea Stadium, followed by Pedro Martinez on Saturday and Tom Glavine on Sunday.

Martinez will be working on five days' rest.

"Anytime you give Pedro an extra day, you do that," Randolph said.

Randolph also reinserted Cliff Floyd, mired in a season-long slump, in the lineup after two days off against left-handed starters. Floyd, who had 34 homers, 98 RBI and a .273 average last year, entered a three-game series against the Cardinals hitting only .195 with three homers and 14 RBI.

Randolph hoped the break helped Floyd clear his mind.

"Sometimes that stuff can kind of get you going again, so I just keep my fingers crossed," Randolph said. "If he goes 4-for-4 tonight I'll look pretty smart.

"Make me look good, Cliff."

Randolph said Floyd has been calm throughout his early season woes. Floyd said he would "go down swinging," and recognized he's putting the Mets in a tough spot.

"I'm doing the best I can," Floyd said. "You can't keep putting a guy in there if he's not producing.

"It's just a constant battle."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press