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Floyd improving, unlikely for NLCS

Floyd improving, unlikely for NLCS

NEW YORK -- The only prominent injury issues in the National League Championship Series involve Cardinals third baseman Scott Rolen, who missed Game 4 of his team's Division Series because of soreness and fatigue in his surgically repaired left shoulder, and Mets left fielder Cliff Floyd, who left Game 3 of the other NLDS after straining his troublesome left Achilles running the bases.

Floyd was examined via MRI on Monday. General manager Omar Minaya said Floyd's condition has improved and that the left fielder continues to receive treatment. But his inclusion on the Mets' roster for the NLCS still seemed unlikely. Minaya also acknowledged the risk the club would take if it retained Floyd on the roster and he became baseball-incapacitated early in the series.

Rosters, due at 10 a.m. ET on Wednesday for the Mets and Cardinals, cannot be revised once the series begins.

Minaya said that another outfielder -- Ricky Ledee or Lastings Milledge -- would be added to the roster if Floyd were unavailable. Ledee, a veteran, would provide duplicate skill because he bats left-handed. Shawn Green, Endy Chavez and Michael Tucker, all outfielders, also are left-handed hitters. Milledge, the rookie, bats right-handed.

The general manager indicated the club would discuss carrying 12 pitchers as it did in the NLDS, or 11 as it did for most of the regular season. If the staff included 11 pitchers, the Mets could carry a third catcher, as had been the plan before Orlando Hernandez injured his right calf on the eve of the Dodgers series.

A third catcher -- Mike De Felice -- would allow Willie Randolph to use reserve catcher Ramon Castro as a right-handed pinch-hitter and thereby restore some of the balance to the Mets' bench. How important that would be in a best-of-seven series against a team with no left-handed starter and two marginal left-handed relievers, Tyler Johnson and Randy Flores, is what the Mets need to determine.

Whether or not a third catcher or 12th pitcher are carried -- and its unlikely both would be dropped from the roster -- the Mets could carry Anderson Hernandez as a middle-infield reserve and pinch-runner. If Anderson were on the roster, it would make Chris Woodward, who served all season as an infield reserve, available to serve as an extra outfielder, as well.

Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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