Despite injury, LF Floyd in Mets starting lineup
Buster Olney looks at the 10 biggest matchups in the NL Championship Series. First up: Willie Randolph vs. Albert Pujols.
The Padres generally elected to go after Pujols, and the Cardinals' first baseman hurt San Diego, batting .333, banging away for a .600 slugging percentage; he had only one walk in four games. The Mets' manager will probably approach him more cautiously than Bruce Bochy did, issuing some intentional walks.
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"They asked me if I could hit, and I feel pretty good hitting right now," Floyd said.
The Mets kept Floyd on their active roster Wednesday morning but did make one change from the first round, dropping left-handed reliever Royce Ring and adding infielder Anderson Hernandez. That left them with 11 pitchers for the NLCS.
Floyd was set to bat sixth and play left field in the opener against the Cardinals, but Game 1 was postponed due to rain and pushed back to Thursday.
"The weather? Like I said, it's playoff time, man. There's no time to rest and worry about things like that. You've got to win ballgames," Mets manager Willie Randolph said. "Hopefully, he can stay under control and hit all the dry spots and make a couple catches for us."
The oft-injured Floyd was on the disabled list twice this season. He batted .244 with 11 homers and 44 RBI in 332 at-bats.
Alan Schwarz and Rob Neyer recap the Tigers' Game 1 win over the A's. Plus, a preview of the NLCS Game 1 in which Jeff Weaver faces Tom Glavine.
But he found his stroke during a first-round sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers, going 4-for-9 (.444) with a home run, two RBI and three runs. Floyd left Game 3 in pain after scoring from first on Shawn Green's third-inning double, hobbling from third base to home plate.
Floyd limped into New York's clubhouse on Tuesday, then labored through a workout in left field. But the Mets said they liked the way he swung during batting practice, and they think he can be useful.
"The guy wants to play, man. He said he felt pretty good. And I was happy to hear that," Randolph said Wednesday. "It's really just a matter of dealing with some of the discomfort, and Cliff feeling like he can go out there and not hurt the ballclub.
"He's one of my big boys and I'd like him to be out there with us so we can get this first win under our belt."
The 33-year-old Floyd, who can become a free agent after this season, said it was important to him to remain on the roster.
"I had a couple of questions for the doctor. They reassured me about a couple things, and here we are," Floyd said. "I told them how I felt. I told them I would love to be on the roster and help this team. I feel pretty good. I don't feel great.
"It might be my last season playing for the Mets, so I don't want to go out that way," he added.
Ring did not pitch in the three-game sweep of the Dodgers. Hernandez hit .152 with one homer and three RBI in 66 at-bats this season.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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