Delgado's hip continues to be problem

Updated: May 14, 2009, 9:56 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- The New York Mets opened a 10-game trip Thursday without three key players due to injuries: shortstop Jose Reyes, reliever J.J. Putz and first baseman Carlos Delgado.

Putz had a cortisone shot to alleviate inflammation in his right elbow, and the Mets are increasingly concerned about Delgado's ailing hip. Reyes was out of the starting lineup for the opener of a four-game series at San Francisco because of a stiff right calf.

Reyes' calf tightened up on him during the cross-country flight, the team said. He was scratched from the original lineup and replaced at shortstop by Alex Cora, who was set to bat second. Second baseman Luis Castillo moved into Reyes' leadoff spot.

"Reyes could play, but having a tight calf we thought it best if we could give him a day if we could," manager Jerry Manuel said in San Francisco. "Could he pinch hit? Sure. If there was an emergency, could he play? Sure. He's one of the warriors on this team -- he just needs to tone down his baserunning a little bit."

Manuel said he addressed baserunning issues with Reyes and that the message was delivered. His absence from the lineup is a separate issue, the manager said.

"These are two marquee guys we're talking about," Manuel added. "These are not just fill-in guys, these are the core we're talking about. We have to bite the bullet with these guys."

Putz received an injection Thursday in New York and then joined the team in San Francisco.

"They weren't alarmed by anything they saw," Manuel said. "It was all good news in that sense. They assured me it would only be a couple of days and he'll be ready to throw."

In his first season with the Mets, Putz gave up runs against Atlanta both Tuesday and Wednesday. That lifted his ERA to 4.05.

"He should be available after two days," Mets general manager Omar Minaya said.

Delgado, New York's 36-year-old cleanup hitter, missed all three games against the Braves because of a sore right hip, an injury sustained April 26 while sliding during a triple against Washington. He missed five straight starts, then returned to the lineup May 4 and played seven straight games -- all won by the Mets -- before the pain flared up again.

On Wednesday, Manuel said he feared Delgado could be put on the disabled list as soon as Friday if the hip didn't improve.

Minaya said Delgado had a bone spur in addition to an impingement.

"Right now we're going to take through the weekend to see how he's doing," the general manager said. "He's doing some new exercises."

Delgado is batting .298 with four homers and 23 RBIs. Fernando Tatis started at first base against the Braves and hit a grand slam in Wednesday's 8-7, 12-inning loss.

Tatis was in the lineup at first base again Thursday night.

"I really thought we would make a decision regarding Delgado today," Manuel said. "But according to the people who are working on him they would rather give this until the weekend, Saturday or Sunday. At that point we'll have to make some type of call one way or the other because it will be difficult enough playing short and being short with that kind of bat and the type of player. That's big."


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press