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07/17/07 9:30 PM ET

Notes: Henderson enjoyed San Diego

All-time leader in runs scored remembers laid-back atmosphere

SAN DIEGO -- Former Padres outfielder and current New York Mets first-base coach Rickey Henderson held court with the media before Tuesday's game at PETCO Park, dispelling rumors about returning as a player and discussing his playing days in San Diego.

"I accomplished some great goals in San Diego," Henderson said. "Brings a lot of great memories back, but most of all, it brings the great, fun times you had in San Diego.

"The organization was fantastic to me. You know, it's just a great place all-around. In New York, the media is so overpowering. In San Diego, it was laid-back, and to me, people respected their ballplayers."

Henderson, 48, was with the Padres from 1996-97 and in 2001 and surpassed Ty Cobb to break the Major League record for runs scored (2,246) while with the Padres. Cobb had held the record since 1928.

Henderson also recorded career hit No. 3,000 in 2001 with the Padres.

It's no coincidence that former teammate and the newest inductee into the Hall of Fame, Tony Gwynn, presented Henderson with a plaque for his feat after he set the runs record in 2001.

"Oh, he taught me a lot," Henderson said of Gwynn. "He is a great individual; he's a great person and all-around athlete, too. I'll tip my hat to him. He got the opportunity to reach his goal and get in the Hall of Fame."

Henderson, who played in the Majors for 25 years, said he will not return as a player.

"No, no, they won't let me come back as a player," Henderson said in the hallway outside the visitors' clubhouse.

On the contrary, he's quite content as a coach. The Mets announced Henderson as their new first-base coach on Friday.

"It's totally different," Henderson said of the experience. "Instead of you trying each and every day to figure out what you got to do to help out your team win ... and perform, now you have to take a whole ballclub and try to analyze the personality and how they feel and what they got to do out there to get us a win.

"It's a teaching side. When you're coaching, it's all about teaching your guys and trying to figure out what can make them a better ballplayer. The biggest thing is going out and using your knowledge and hoping that you can give something back and helping someone else to achieve their goals."

Henderson, who played for a slew of teams, including the Mets from 1999-2001, said he didn't use steroids during his career in the Majors.

"I didn't need to. I was too fast," Henderson said.

Henderson still holds the all-time stolen base record with 1,406.

No Cammy: Manager Bud Black decided that Tuesday was a good day to give Mike Cameron off even though the veteran center fielder was coming off a night where he hit his 12th home run of the season.

Hiram Bocachica got the start in center field in place of Cameron, 34.

"I think more than anything it's a general health day for Cammy," Black said. "Like all players he needs a day and today is a good day to give him. Like all players this time of year, there are some aches and pains. He'll be back in there soon."

That Cameron has one hit in 12 career at-bats against Mets starter Orlando Hernandez with eight strikeouts likely made the decision to sit Cameron an easy one.

Entering Tuesday's game, Cameron had appeared in 89 of the team's first 91 games this season, including 88 as a starter.

The hot hand: Catcher Michael Barrett was back in the lineup on Tuesday as Black opted to keep the right-hander's hot bat in the lineup against the Mets.

Barrett, who had three hits and drove in three runs during Monday's 5-1 victory over the Mets, is hitting .400 in his last five games (8-for-20) with five RBIs.

"For it to be my first three-RBI game [with the Padres], it couldn't have happened at a better time for me, just because I've been wanting to contribute more offensively," Barrett said. "Those things happen when you least expect them."

Barrett hit .298 in his first 16 games with the Padres. He was hitting .257 with the Cubs when he was traded for San Diego for catcher Rob Bowen and a Minor Leaguer on June 20.

Friars notes: Pete Laforest and Pete Ciofrone each hit grand slams on Monday in Triple-A Portland's 14-9 loss to Las Vegas. Laforest's latest grand slam, his fourth of the season, ties the Pacific Coast League record for most grand slams in a single season. ... San Diego closer Trevor Hoffman ranks third in the National League with 25 saves this season, entering Tuesday's action. He has converted his last 21 save opportunities since April 21, going 1-1 with an 0.36 ERA.

On deck: The Padres will conclude their series against the Mets at 7:05 p.m. PT on Wednesday. Greg Maddux (7-7, 4.35 ERA) will get the start for San Diego. The Mets counter with John Maine (10-5, 2.91 ERA). The Padres open a four-game series against the Phillies on Thursday at PETCO Park.

Elizabeth M. Botello is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Corey Brock, a reporter for MLB.com, contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.