Hamstring tightness limits Bannister's outing

Updated: May 18, 2006, 7:10 PM ET
Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- New York Mets rookie pitcher Brian Bannister abandoned a rehab start for Triple-A Norfolk after only five pitches on Thursday due to tightness in his right hamstring, altering the team's plans for him to return to the rotation.

 Brian Bannister

Assistant general manager John Ricco said Bannister, placed on the 15-day disabled list April 28 with a strained right hamstring, would undergo an MRI exam on Friday. Bannister is 2-0 with a 2.89 ERA.

"We want to be cautious because he said he had some tightness," Ricco said. "We want to be sure on this."

The Mets had planned on Bannister making one rehab start and then rejoining the starting rotation. Before the game, manager Willie Randolph said Jose Lima and Jeremi Gonzalez essentially were auditioning for one spot.

"One of them is going to be gone most likely, so I guess you can look at it that way if you want," Randolph said. "The bottom line is if you pitch well it's going to help you in the short term and the long term.

"Do the math."

Lima got knocked out in the fifth on Thursday and has allowed 14 earned runs in 14 2/3 innings in three starts. Gonzalez starts Friday in the opener of an interleague series against the Yankees at Shea Stadium.

Ricco said the truncated rehab start wasn't necessarily a setback for Bannister. He said barring a problem with the MRI exam, Bannister would make another rehab start before coming off the DL.

"It happens," Ricco said. "We want Brian back in the rotation as soon as possible, so that's why we're being cautious."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press