Jason Bay could start season on DL

Updated: March 29, 2011, 5:14 PM ET
By Adam Rubin | ESPNNewYork.com

VIERA, Fla. -- Some of the New York Mets' final roster decisions are being made for them.

Outfielder Jason Bay was scratched from Tuesday's Grapefruit League game with a strained intercostal muscle in his left rib cage and could start the season on the disabled list.

General manager Sandy Alderson said a DL decision could wait until shortly before the Thursday 11 a.m. ET deadline.

"We will have a move or two that we don't make until the very end," Alderson said.

Bay is due to head back to Port St. Lucie to be examined by doctors. Alderson did not believe Bay's injury was related to the back stiffness that idled him during the weekend. The GM added that he was not aware of the severity.

"He didn't want to speculate. I didn't ask him to speculate," Alderson said. "We'll just wait to see what the doctors think."

Catcher Ronny Paulino may also head to the DL with a stomach/colon issue that was flagged during bloodwork.

Paulino is undergoing more tests. He is not expected to need surgery, Alderson said. However, Paulino may need to be placed on the disabled list after the final eight games of his 50-game suspension for using a banned substance are completed.

"There are still some tests that are pending -- lab work that won't be back until later in the week," Alderson said. "But it does appear that there are stomach and colon issues that are going to keep him out for a while. We don't know the extent of either of those. But we do think it will keep him out for a while based on the medication he'll have to take. He'll be suspended the first eight games ... but it's very possible thereafter he'll go on the disabled list for a period of time."

A veteran of the disabled list, Jason Isringhausen, has been asked to stay back in Port St. Lucie in extended spring training for two weeks.

Isringhausen, 38, has yet to give an official answer. Alderson said he would let Isringhausen walk in a week if a team came and had a major league spot for him.

"We talked to Jason and have asked him to remain in Port St. Lucie for a period of time to continue to pitch, develop arm strength, etc.," Alderson said. "We won't know what he decides until probably tomorrow."

Alderson said the deciding factor was "durability ... in the sense of being able to pitch back to back and frequently over periods of days."

Added Alderson: "There's always going to be some injury risk associated with Jason. The next two weeks will tell us a little more about his velocity, a little bit more about how he bounces back from day to day, and it will tell us a little bit more about our own situation in New York with the bullpen."

In the meantime, the Mets are making contingency plans. Lucas Duda could be on the Opening Day roster if Bay is disabled. Nick Evans would be an alternative. His waiver verdict is expected to come Tuesday afternoon.

Alderson said the Mets are not in the market for a backup catcher. Mike Nickeas will break camp with the team.

"Right now we anticipated having Nickeas as our backup the first eight games," Alderson said. "We'll see how that goes, but right now we're not anxious about it."

Blaine Boyer has been informed he has made the Mets' bullpen, while Manny Acosta has been designated for assignment.

Rule 5 pick Pedro Beato also rounds out the bullpen, with Francisco Rodriguez, Bobby Parnell, Tim Byrdak, D.J. Carrasco and Taylor Buchholz.

Adam Rubin covers the Mets for ESPNNewYork.com.

Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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