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Piazza might return Tuesday as Mets' streak on hold

9/2/2002

NEW YORK (AP) -- Rain saved the New York Mets from dubious
history, at least for one day.

The Mets, who have lost 14 consecutive games at Shea Stadium, never
got on the field Monday against the Florida Marlins because of a
soaking rain.

The tarp over the infield was never removed, and the game was
called after a 1-hour, 20-minute wait. It will be made up as part
of a doubleheader Tuesday night, starting at 5:10 p.m. ET.

A Mets defeat Monday would have set the National League record for
consecutive home defeats. New York tied the 1911 Boston Braves'
mark when Philadelphia completed a weekend sweep of the Mets on
Sunday.

The Mets (61-73) have not won at home since beating the Houston
Astros 10-0 July 31. The major league record for consecutive
home defeats is 20 games, set by the 1953 St. Louis Browns.

New York will get a boost Tuesday if catcher Mike Piazza is
able to return to the lineup. He has been bothered recently by
tendinitis in his left wrist.

''I feel like to go on the disabled list is the absolute last
possibility,'' said Piazza, who sat out the 9-5 defeat Sunday. ''I
definitely want to end the season playing.

''The last thing you want at this point of the season is to make
it worse, make it into something that requires more drastic
measures. If we were in a playoff race, then yeah, you tape it up
and go.''

Exams have revealed a buildup of fluid but no structural damage
in Piazza's wrist, so manager Bobby Valentine suggested the
perennial All-Star give it another try in a game.

''If it doesn't look good ... I dare say he might need five or
six days off in a row,'' Valentine said. ''Mike really wants to be
in there, and I really want him in there, too, but I want him in
there healthy.''

Piazza will get a second opinion this week from a hand and wrist
specialist, but doesn't think his injury will require much more
than rest and rehabilitation. He swung a bat Monday and felt a
little discomfort.

Catching also bothers his achy wrist.

''That's what definitely aggravates it,'' Piazza said. ''I can
catch 10 or 12, then I'll get that one that wrenches it. It's
tendinitis -- it just lingers.

''It has been affecting me. It will get the job done, but not
with the same strength and acceleration, especially when I'm
hitting.''

Losing Piazza for the final month would be a blow to the Mets,
whose $104 million payroll has already been disappointing this
season.

Piazza has a team-leading 24 home runs and 76 RBI, and only
recently has first baseman Mo Vaughn started to hit the way the
Mets envisioned when they traded for him last winter.

Even with Vaughn upping his home run total to 21 Sunday, the
Mets have fallen into last place in the NL East. New York went 6-22
in August before losing its September opener.

''You know they're going to come out of it,'' said Florida
manager Jeff Torborg, who also managed the Mets during
underachieving seasons in 1992 and 1993. ''You just hope they don't
come out of it against us.''

Florida's Carl Pavano and New York's John Thomson, the scheduled starters Monday, will work the first game of the doubleheader. Marlins rookie Justin Wayne and
fellow rookie Mike Bacsik will pitch in the nightcap.