Hernandez has discomfort with right foot while pitching
Hernandez will miss his next start Monday at Washington, and manager Willie Randolph didn't say when he will return to the rotation. The right-hander can run and throw but is having some discomfort with the foot during his pitching motion.
"We'll just look at Duque as we move forward," Randolph said Sunday. "But he's feeling a little sore so we're going to not push it and hope that he'll be ready to slide in sometime soon."
The health of Hernandez, a terrific postseason pitcher, is a major question for New York as it tries to wrap up a second straight NL East title. He missed the entire postseason last year with a torn right calf muscle.
The Mets' lead in the division has dwindled to 3½ games over the Phillies, who beat New York 10-6 Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.
Hernandez was charged with six hits and a season-high eight runs over three-plus innings in the Mets' 13-5 loss to Atlanta on Tuesday. It was El Duque's first start in 12 days, and he said he had a little pain in his foot the next day.
Hernandez got a cortisone shot after he gave up five runs and six hits over three innings at Philadelphia on Aug. 30. New York is 9-2 in his last 11 starts.
"He says it doesn't bother him to run so that's good," Randolph said. "Obviously, it must have something to do with pushing off or he has an unorthodox delivery, maybe it has something to do with that but he says he feels it when he pitches."
Brian Lawrence will take El Duque's turn in the rotation against the Nationals. Lawrence was scheduled to pitch for Triple-A New Orleans on Saturday but the Zephyrs were swept by Sacramento in the Pacific Coast League championship series.
"Two more days, I'm more than ready as far as time," said Lawrence, who hasn't pitched since Sept. 7 against Nashville.
Lawrence went 1-2 with a 6.31 ERA in five starts with New York before he was sent down Aug. 28 to clear up a roster spot for Endy Chavez.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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