Notes: Gomez heads to DL
Outfielder could be lost for year as club's injury woes worsen
HOUSTON -- The Mets roster, seldom stable for more than a few days at a time, is in a state of full flux now and, evidently, will be for a few weeks. Injuries to Oliver Perez and Jorge Sosa had caused changes, and now another outfielder -- Carlos Gomez -- is injured, disabled and not assured of playing again this season.
The injury to Gomez, a fracture of a small bone in his left wrist, happened Wednesday night. He was to undergo surgery Thursday night. To fill his place on the roster, though not in the outfield, the Mets recalled David Newhan on Thursday, one day after they promoted Sandy Alomar Jr. and optioned Jason Vargas, and the same day they summoned -- but didn't activate --- Dave Williams, who will start Sunday after Alomar has been returned to the Minor Leagues.
There. Got that?
And while all that was happening, Paul Lo Duca withdrew his appeal of the two-game suspension and the club made arrangements for Lastings Milledge to continue his rehabilitation with its Double-A Binghamton affiliate so he soon may play left field while the club waits for Moises Alou and/or Endy Chavez to return to active duty.
That spate of decisions, moves, plans and "are you kiddin' me's" brought the first-place team in the National League East to this point. It started a team on Thursday against the Astros that had Ricky Ledee batting second -- he is the 11th player to do so in 84 games -- and Ramon Castro catching and batting eighth. At the same time, the rotation -- always written in pencil in these uncertain times -- now may have as many as seven pitchers making starts in a sequence of 10 games.
Now, some specifics:
Gomez injured his wrist on a checked swing in the sixth inning on Wednesday. He traveled from Denver to Houston with the team and then on to New York for the examination and the surgery. The prognosis is that he can resume baseball activity in six to eight weeks. That could preclude him from playing even after the rosters are expanded to 40 players Aug. 31.
He became the fourth Mets outfielder to be assigned to the disabled this season -- Alou, Chavez and Shawn Green preceded him. And that doesn't take into account Carlos Beltran missing time and playing hurt or the situation involving Milledge.
The Mets moved Milledge from the Class A St. Lucie team to the Binghamton affiliate because inclement weather in Florida had limited him to one game after he had played in the extended Spring Training program. Willie Randolph preferred not to venture a guess as to when Milledge will return.
"He's been down (because of a sprained ligament in his right foot suffered April 23 in the Minor Leagues) for a long time, and he has to play," the manager said. "We have to see when he is game ready."
With Gomez unavailable, the Mets need a left fielder until Alou or Chavez returns, and the date of return remains an unknown for each.
The dates of return for Perez and Sosa remain unknown, though Randolph suggested Perez is more likely than Sosa to return in the first week after the All-Star break. With both assigned to the disabled list and Vargas having pitched poorly in his two emergency starts, the club has turned to Williams to start Sunday in the final game before the break.
He has made three starts since his recovery from January surgery in his neck. He joined the team on Thursday so he could throw his bullpen session with pitching coach Rick Peterson. He said he has no residual pain from the surgery, though he does experience some range of motion limitation when he turns his head to the right.
Lo Duca does squat: After consulting with Willie Randolph and assistant general manager John Ricco, Lo Duca decided to drop his appeal and take the suspension on Thursday and Friday nights. That rationale, Ricco said, was that the club didn't think it advisable for Lo Duca to take the chance of not playing five straight days which might have happened if he had lost his appeal and been forced to serve the suspension in the game directly preceding or following the All-Star break.
"It could be bad for my timing to go that long," Lo Duca said.
Ouch! The two days off, whether wanted or not, gives Lo Duca a chance to recover from the barrage of foul tips that have clipped him in the last two weeks -- "eight or nine or 10," he estimated. Moreover, he caught 233 pitches Wednesday night, the most pitches thrown in one nine-inning game this season.
A person who hadn't seen the Mets' 17-7 loss in Denver on Wednesday night asked Lo Duca if he had been struck by any tips.
"The weren't fouling too many off," was his response and another indication of how the Rockies had battered the Mets pitchers. They had 20 hits, one less than the Tigers amassed June 10.
Separated at birth? The Mets and Astros are expansion sisters, but hardly twins. They are readily distinguished from each other in a number of ways.
The Mets never have pitched a no-hitter. The Astros have pitched 10, one against the Mets.
The Mets have won two World Series (1969, 1986) and played in two more (1973, 2000). The Astros were swept in their lone World Series appearance (2005).
The Mets won a 16-inning decisive NLCS game -- against the Astros; the Astros won an 18-inning NLDS game.
Art Howe was appreciated in Houston.
Nolan Ryan was heralded there.
And if nothing else distinguishes one franchise from the other, this does: The Mets all-time record on Thursday as they entered their series against the Astros was 3,454-3,779; the Astros' was 3,616-3,631.
The winning percentages were .448 for the Mets and .499 for the Astros. If the two clubs were in the same division since their birth in 1962, the Astros would lead by 155 games.
This date in Mets history -- July 6: With Gil Hodges, Charlie Neal and Rod Kanehl hitting home runs and Roger Craig pitching a complete game, the Mets beat the Cardinals, 10-3, at the Polo Grounds in their first 50th game on this date in 1962. They scored at least 10 for the fourth time in a 29-game sequence, having not scored that many in any of their first 50.
They scored at least 10 runs once in their final 81 games, but they allowed at least 10 runs 23 times that year, including the three games in early July that directly preceded the July 6 victory. Coors Field wasn't involved.
The Mets beat the Cardinals, 10-3, again eight years later on July 6 with Tommie Agee hitting for the cycle at Shea Stadium. A Met has hit for the cycle on July 3 (Alex Ochoa in Philadelphia in 1996), July 4 (Keith Hernandez in Atlanta in 1985) and July 6 (Agee).
Coming up: Pelfrey is set to make his second start since his recall on Friday night and face the team that pinned his first big-league loss on him last July. Left-hander Wandy Rodriguez is to start for the Astros. First pitch is scheduled for 8:05 p.m. ET.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.