Floyd's availability uncertain; Mets set NLCS rotation

NEW YORK -- Cliff Floyd limped into the Mets' clubhouse
Tuesday with a protective boot on his injured left foot and made
his best case to remain on the team's roster in the NL Championship

He left the rest up to manager Willie Randolph.

"It's all right," Floyd said after New York's workout.
"That's all I got. ... Whatever he says the lineup is going to be,
it's going to be."

The Mets must make a decision on Floyd by the time they finalize
their NLCS roster Wednesday morning, about 10 hours before Game 1
against St. Louis.

"He had a nice little workout," Randolph said. "I'm
optimistic it will work out fine. We have time to wait, see how he
feels when he gets up tomorrow morning.

"We don't anticipate any setbacks or anything like that, but
might as well take the opportunity to wait and see before we make a
decision on that," he said.

Floyd had two stints on the disabled list this season for a
sprained left ankle and left Achilles tendinitis. He re-injured
his foot during Saturday's first-round clincher at Los Angeles when
he ran hard to score from first on a double.

If Floyd is unable to go, the Mets start super sub Endy Chavez
in left field and add rookie Lastings Milledge or fellow outfielder
Ricky Ledee to the roster.

Floyd ran the bases and worked out in the outfield as the team
prepared for the NLCS opener. He favored his left leg during parts
of the workout and was guarded about his condition afterward.

Floyd said his movement was "not great, but it hasn't been
great for a while." He was asked if he could go in Game 1 and
replied "anything's possible."

"It felt great swinging but the game is not just swinging," he

Floyd was limited to 97 games this season, batting .244 with 11
home runs and 44 RBI. He hit 34 homers in 2005.

He did well in the first-round sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers,
going 4-for-9 with a homer and scoring three runs.

Chavez had a career year, hitting .306 with four homers and 42
RBIs in 133 games. He went 3-for-8 and scored a run in the Mets'
first-round sweep.

"I just come in the stadium and see the lineup every day,"
Chavez said.

Floyd said he's concerned about being able to play the whole
series against St. Louis if it should go seven games.

"I can't be messing around with [Randolph's] plans or messing
around with the team," he said. "This is a way too important time
to be in a position where you don't know or you're kind of iffy.
It's going to be one way or the other."

With the Mets missing injured starting pitchers Pedro Martinez
and Orlando Hernandez, Tom Glavine will start Game 1, followed by John Maine in Game 2 and Steve Trachsel in Game 3.

Maine, acquired from Baltimore in the Kris Benson trade last January, started Game 1 against the Dodgers and Trachsel Game 3. Oliver Perez, sent to the Mets by Pittsburgh on July 31 along with Roberto Hernandez for Xavier Nady, was in line to pitch a fourth game, which wasn't needed.

Dave Williams, who hasn't pitched in a game since Sept. 11, could be added to the roster. Minaya said Williams, who beat the Cardinals on Aug. 24, threw five or six innings in a simulated game in Florida.

Williams was acquired from Cincinnati in May.

"Did I expect these guys to be kind of possibly key guys in
the playoffs?" Minaya said. "That wasn't my hope. But they are.
But one thing about them -- they're not afraid to take the ball."

Perez, 3-13 during the regular season, would be only the second
pitcher with a regular-season record 10 games under .500 to start a
postseason game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, joining
Albie Lopez, who was 9-19 in 2001 and started twice in the playoffs
for Arizona. Perez had a 1-2 record and 4.82 ERA in three starts
against the Cardinals, while Williams was 1-1 with a 5.63 ERA, also
making three starts.

"We have to take into account also how guys performed against
the Cardinals during the regular season," Minaya said.

Minaya praised manager Willie Randolph for his decisions against
the Dodgers, saying "he took some bold chances."

"I was like, OK?" Minaya said, sounding surprised by the
moves, which he didn't elaborate on.

Hired by the Mets before the 2005 season, Randolph won two World
Series titles as a player with the Yankees and four more as a

"When we hired Willie, the one thing that stood out in the back
of my mind was this guy understands winning," Minaya said.
"Here's a guy that's been through it and understands playoff
baseball as good or better than anybody that I know of."

While the Mets won the NL East and matched the Yankees for the
best record in the major leagues at 97-65, St. Louis was just
83-78. The Mets took four of six from the Cardinals during the
regular season.

"It's going to be a tough series," Minaya said. "When you
play Tony La Russa's teams, you better come ready to play."

NLCS notes
Former Met Darryl Strawberry will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the opener. ... Minaya wasn't concerned about outfielder Carlos Beltran, who sustained an abdominal injury during Saturday's game. "Right now it's a minor thing," Minaya said. "Like anything else, a lot of guys are banged up and stuff like that."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.